Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Jupiter trine Pluto, 7-1
Jupiter octile Saturn, 7-8
Full Moon at 20Cp59, 7-13
New Moon at 5Le45, 7-29
Mars Retrograde Station at 10Pi08
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
After two months of high action storm energies, it appears someone let all the air out of the tires for July. There's hardly any planetary tail-wind behind us this month, which could make for one long, grueling time. That may not be all that bad of an idea, however, since people seem to be a bit crazy and stressed out lately -- we could use a timeout. But lazy months like this can take their toil, since we're left to muddle through on our own without any cosmic backup to keep things moving. Not only are there many fewer noteworthy events to talk about than usual, but it seems we're in a winding down phase where the powerful energies of the last 6-12 months are coming to a close. It's a time to reap the rewards and problems of the last year, as well as a quiet time of anticipation concerning what new energies will take their places quite shortly. I would kick back for awhile and review in your mind the last year -- what worked for you and what messes did you leave behind? What new directions do you want to delve into next and what "old business" do you need to clean up if progress is to be made? These quiet times are like the months of labor before giving birth, full of hope, promises and apprehension. Don't worry about lack of results for now -- the time to start new endeavors is yet to come. Be patient. Soon ...
There's really not much to talk about in July. We have two "big aspects" that are winding down. And then there's the retrograde station of Mars on the 29th. Other than that, we're basically driving on fumes most of the month. It's curious that with two exceptions (Uranus quintile Pluto and Chiron octile Uranus), all the big aspects that have been active the last year are either completed or finishing up this month. This is really the end of the line for all these old influences. There are a bunch of new aspects that start up in the August through October timeframe, but for now we are stuck in the doldrums. July is an "in between" time -- the past is dying, the future has yet to arrive. It's a good time to step back and contemplate your path.
One thing that caught my eye this month is how bunched up the planets are. Most of the planets are crammed into Cancer and Leo; most of the rest are across the zodiac in Aquarius and Pisces. There's not a lot of balance or breadth of perspective to rely on these days. The Cancer-Leo grouping puts a very personal, individual stamp on your experiences, as though everything about you literally revolves around you. It's tough to see the bigger picture or to be objective and non-involved emotionally in everything you do. While it's important to have a strong personal perspective or healthy ego in life, too much self-absorption can blind you to other possibilities. The smaller group of planets in Aquarius and Pisces attempt to provide some balance. However, except for Mars, these planets are symbolic of the deep unconscious and represent subtler influences that may escape your notice. They drag you into meeting the world at large and advancing beyond your usual boundaries, but it may feel like you are being pushed against your will. Actively engaging the world without a strong personal motive (Mars in Pisces) is perhaps the most useful approach this month, but even that may have limited success. It just seems like we are being drawn in two opposite directions and it's tough to reconcile the differences.
One of those "big aspects" is the final trine between Jupiter and Pluto on the 1st. The previous two contacts of this aspect were on 2002-10-27 and 2002-12-18. Jupiter is the planet that points us towards the outer world. He's about expanding your boundaries, making connections, letting the influence of others open you up to new experiences. If you need a cheering section to pump you full of enthusiasm, Jupiter is the planet to call on. Pluto works in quite a different fashion. The Dark Lord of the Underworld tends to deepen your own personal experience, drawing you more deeply into issues from your own unconscious. He can make the smallest thing seem overwhelmingly important and put the long neglected and overlooked on center stage. Frequently, you can experience a sense of loss during Pluto times, since he's known for separating us from parts of our lives that we've outgrown, but haven't released yet. It may seem like these two planets are taking us in totally opposite directions, but trines have an uncanny ability to make things work smoothly. Yes, you are being drawn outward, but the outer world can only be important in the long run if it connects with something deep within. Without that inner contact, outer situations are only a passing fancy, an enthusiasm that fades quickly. Similarly, too much self-absorption becomes a trap ultimately if there is nobody to share it with. The vibrancy and liveliness of our inner lives are mirrored in the life around us and vice versa. Both planets are in fire signs these days, a mark that these aspects affect us on a spiritual, inner level. Jupiter in Leo the last 11 months has been particularly important, since he's been pushing us to develop a balanced, healthy ego that engages the world in a cheerful, enthusiastic manner. A strong inner base like that can't be faked -- you are either genuine or you aren't. The trials and tribulations of Pluto push us to let go of the inauthentic, the masks we wear to "fit in" instead of revealing ourselves clearly. In the end, you must simply engage the world as you are, warts and all. Beware of getting too wrapped up in things or letting your enthusiasm get out of bounds. Both planets can exaggerate matters and let them assume excessive importance. Balance is always the key.
Jupiter is octile Saturn for the last time on the 8th. The first couple of contacts were on 2002-10-13 and 2003-3-27. Both of these bodies are what I call social planets, meaning their influences are most easily seen in the outer world or the broader international stage. Jupiter is about expanding your horizons and taking in the goodies from around you, while Saturn is more of a contractive force, causing you to tend to your own backyard in a more responsible manner. Instead of an outgoing, gungho attitude, Saturn is more restrictive and conservative, often motivated more by fear than anything else. Of course, if you are unable to interact with your surroundings in a confident, but respectful fashion, eventually something backfires on you -- Saturn is commonly known as a planet that brings more suffering than most. And octiles are no easy aspect to weather. They tend to produce a sense of conflict or emerging crisis, a feeling that a good situation is turning sour and difficult. As I've said on many occasions, if you want to understand the octile properly, you need to go back to when the current 20 year Jupiter-Saturn cycle began. This cycle started with the conjunction of these two planets on 2000-5-28 at 22Ta43. Many of the trends that began then are still in the headlines today. For starters, the Israeli Sun is around 23 degrees Taurus, so it's not surprising that the Mideast situation pops up at the octile. Shortly after the conjunction, Ariel Sharon strolled across the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, one of Islam's holiest sites, which unleashed the present Palestinian intifadeh. Three years later, we're still trying to put that genie back in the bottle. Both sides want the benefits of peace, security and self-determination (the benefits of the Jupiter side of the equation), but neither side seems willing to be a good neighbor (Saturn) and forego the endless bloody cycle of war and revenge. Now that the Bush administration is finally leaning harder on both sides, we are seeing some baby steps towards peace, but it is hard for both parties to be responsible enough to wage peace. Typical of an octile, the road to peace has been stressful lately -- let's hope it gets easier. Another issue that surfaced around the conjunction was the economy. After the long, prosperous ride of the Clinton years, the stock market stalled out in the spring of 2000. Since then, the economy has been in a mostly downward slide with little signs of a lasting recovery to be seen. It's not necessarily in intensive care, but it's still on life support as the administration tries to get things moving again. Jupiter and Saturn often act as economic indicators (what bigger social theme is there than money?), and the octile puts continuing stress on the markets. In general, this is a time to balance what we get out of life with what we put back in. Everyone wants the goodies in life, but few want to pay the necessary price. Deep down, we're a culture of robbers in a metaphorical sense. Taking without giving is essentially stealing and no society can endure with such a foundation (the battles over the federal budget being just one example). It's time to rediscover what it means to be a good neighbor. (The sextile aspect that starts in November should be considerably easier.)
There is a lot of water in the full moon chart. We are up to our eyebrows in emotional issues of various sorts. Quite simply, this is a very trying time for relationships of any kind. Perhaps that is why the Moon-Chiron conjunction over in Capricorn is so important -- it provides some grounding and balance. We normally don't think of Moon in Capricorn as a smooth combination, but in this case it calms down the emotions and gives us a more matter-of-fact attitude towards life's dramas. Don't numb out the feelings too much, however -- you can have too much of a good thing. As always, balance is the key. In a sense, it's a shame that this chart is as scattered as it is. If the planets were only more organized, it could be quite spectacular. Except for the fact that the orbs are loose, there are 3 separate Grand Trines present and a T-Square or two. With the potential for fireworks like that, we should be grateful the chart is scattered! As is, we can take our time and savor the energies. Feel your feelings, especially those you have for others, and try to smooth over the rough spots calmly and with the highest intentions. Remain open to looking at the situation from a whole new perspective, even if it contradicts some of your assumptions. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Life could be a lot crazier these days...
There's a marked change in mood between the full moon and the new moon today. There's a very heavy emphasis on the fire signs now, with 5 planets in Leo alone. All that Leo action says "ME!" unequivocally -- it's time to step out from the shadows and show your stuff. The new moon point is opposite Neptune, adding a glamorous glow to everything (for better or worse). Juno makes it a T-square , so just be sure that when you're focusing on yourself you don't totally forget that other people exist (and certainly don't treat them as "supporting cast" in your private play). Be aware that we are less than an hour away from Mars' retrograde station. How odd to have such an egocentric Leo display just as Mars' capacity to express it all is shutting down. Saturn (soon to oppose Chiron this fall) is also counseling us to be a bit cautious. Perhaps this is time for inner ego rehabilation work of some kind, given the limitations on outer expression that seem to be cropping up. Perhaps the best present you can give yourself is to surround yourself with loving people. And what better way to do that than treating them right. It sounds a bit paradoxical, but it works...
Mars is standing still on the 29th at 10Pi08, making a rare retrograde station that starts two months of reverse motion. Mars is about will power, the ability to turn intention into action, the mysterious power of the psyche to leave its mark on the physical world. He likes action and excitement, but mostly likes getting his way. However, when the Warrior God is in reverse gear like this, it seems will power becomes won't power. Your ability to carry out intention ("expressing your will") is thwarted in innumerable ways. Particularly since this entire retrograde cycle takes place in Pisces, the most selfless sign in the whole zodiac, it's going to be really tough to be egocentric the next few months. When it seems your desires are being frustrated, the tendency to get angry with what's holding you back may feel justified. Unfortunately, such lashing out is apt to be misdirected. It's easy to blame others for your troubles, but most likely these days, the biggest impediment to your happiness is yourself. We all have blind spots and self-sabotaging habits that get in our own way. This is a time to reexamine closely how you use and misuse your Mars energies. A common problem is anger that is too close to the surface. Popping off at others for the slightest "infraction" is more likely to annoy them and drive them away than make them behave right. Patience and diplomacy are usually more effective tools for gaining the cooperation of others. On the other side of the coin, never asserting yourself is also a recipe for never getting your way -- you need to stand up for yourself in a responsible manner. Some people jump right in and get to work when the situation demands it, but without having an effective plan of action, leading to much wasted effort. The flip side is excessive planning for every possible (and quite a few impossible) contingency so that you never get around to putting the plans in action. It helps to work smarter, not just harder (Mars is a soldier, not a deep thinker). It's especially important to know precisely what it is you desire. You can waste a lot of time and energy pursuing goals (quite expertly, in fact!) that you really don't want in the end. Without the right intention, how can you pursue your will? In short, the traps we have for frustrating our wishes are endless. Whatever version of these traps you favor, you'll get to experience them quite intimately in coming months. Follow your anger and frustration within (avoiding the easy temptation of lashing out at others) until you find your inner saboteur and take it out on him instead. You don't need to hang onto such useless baggage anymore. Mars is retrograde until Sep 27 when it reaches its direct station at 0Pi07.