Current Transits for July 2004

Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...


Full Moon at 10Cp53, 7-2
Fourth of July, 7-4
Jupiter Quincunx Neptune, 7-9
New Moon at 25Cn12, 7-17
Vesta Retrograde Station at 28Pi23, 7-27
Ceres enters Virgo, 7-29
Saturn Quincunx Pluto, 7-31
Full Moon at 8Aq50, 7-31

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

We get about one week of quiet yet and then all hell breaks loose. The chaotic and scattered energies that dominated June continue until the 8th. If your stress levels are off the dial these days (a lot of people are pretty much walking wounded recently), use this time to relax, if you can. Starting around the 9th, the energies pick up and intensify, reaching full storm proportions by the 14th and staying there the rest of the month! We're probably out of practice dealing with energies like this. The last time we saw a planetary pattern this strong was 13 months ago (2003-6-24), so this is a rare influence on us. The only encouraging thing I can say is don't take it personally. The storm is dominated by heavy duty outer planets, especially Jupiter and Saturn, so much of the action around us is focused on the bigger world stage and less in our private lives. That doesn't mean we won't feel the emotional impact of the big events swirling around us, however. Curiously, the Democratic convention is in Boston July 26 to 29, just after the crest of the wave breaks. Political events may be shaped by unforeseen surprises or fall under a cloud of suspicion. At any rate, prepare youself for a very trying time. Who knows, you may even take advantage of its more constructive side.

There's not much in the way of astrological headlines in July. We have a couple of "big aspects" to consider, both quincunxes. Vesta is standing still on the 27th, starting a 3 month retrograde cycle. Ceres moves into Virgo on the 29th.

I know this waveform for the full moon doesn't look like much, but you can already discern the big storm pattern that will bloom shortly. The "tallest" peaks (weak as they are) are clustered around 10 degrees or so; there are little side peaks at 14 degrees. We have a large group of planets slowly coming together and flying in formation for most of July. They include Venus, the Sun, Pallas, Saturn, Ceres (?), Jupiter, the Moon and Neptune in a rather complex fan-shaped configuration. Mars is aspecting Uranus (another quincunx) and will join the main group by mid month. There's a lot of latent power in here -- it just needs some time to mature.

There's a strong Cancer-Capricorn polarity in the full moon chart. It's tempting to go off on a tangent about parenting issues and authority figures, but somehow that feels at odds with the level the planets are operating these days. Hidden in this large group of planets is our good friend, the Jupiter-Saturn-Neptune Yod that has been following us around since last fall. These influences feel less personal and more societal, affecting people in the mass rather than as individuals. Yods have a way of acting like you've reached a fork in the road and you need to take one path or the other. You just have to trust your gut and not look back. Looking at the world scene the last year, for all the drama and political theatrics, choices good and bad have been made and the situation is markedly changed. The results of this period seem decidedly mixed and ambiguous. Even good intentions can have difficult consequences down the road (never wear Neptune's rose colored glasses when making geopolitical plans...). In a sense, this full moon is a summing up period in history, a time to take stock of what we (and I mean all of humanity) have created in recent years. Are we collectively happy with the outcome of our efforts? Would you have made the same decisions or done things differently? Does the world we've created really represent the soul of us as a people? Kind of weighty questions with no clear answers, but it is an election year, a time for decisions. American politics often resembles the antics of rebellious teenagers, not the distilled wisdom of the heart. It's possible to express our will as a people in a saner way next time we're called to act. Things to ponder...

It seems likely that some of the pressure on the US is likely to lessen in the coming year, although with the Sun close to Saturn in the next few days, we're still getting a dose of Yod energy to last us for weeks. Jupiter is very protective of the Sun at this time, which may save us in some tough spots. The Mars-Uranus quincunx was exact this morning, one of the most interesting aspects during this time. This combination has "accident waiting impatiently to happen" written all over it, something dramatic that will get our attention and wake us up. With Mars going over Bush's ascendent today (and then his Mercury and Pluto), the next few weeks or months are a potentially dangerous time for him (among all the other things going on in his chart these days). The Moon is hanging out with Neptune and Uranus today -- it's a good time for some soul searching. Especially since the US progressed Sun moves from Aquarius into Pisces this fall -- another big change in direction for the country. We've got some momentous transitions to make our way through this year -- good luck to us.

Jupiter is quincunx Neptune on the 9th, the last of three such contacts. The previous contacts were on 2003-10-16 and 2004-3-3. As I've said on many occasions, throw in Saturn and you have the major Yod pattern we've been watching for 9 or 10 months now. The Yod energies are starting to wind down this summer, with the final aspect (namely Jupiter sextile Saturn) on Aug 15, so as the dust settles, we are starting to see what we've created in our world. Even though Jupiter is considered an extremely beneficial planet and Neptune somewhat more ambiguously so, this hasn't been an easy aspect at all. For starters, both planets are upbeat and optimistic, with an eye on the big picture, which means neither of them are minding the nitty gritty details (Saturn has helped some). And Jupiter in Virgo is an odd placement for him -- all those "practical concerns" and attention to mundane issues really dampens his enthusiasm. Of course, Neptune in Aquarius is so idealistic and otherworldly that he finds the real world an annoying nuisance this decade. These clashes are exaggerated by the nature of the quincunx itself. This peculiar aspect seems to connect up forces that are subtly at odds with each other, as though they can't exist in the same universe without stepping on each other's feet. In this case, we have stubborn reality butting up against an idealistic view of how the world should be and we don't know how to resolve the dissonance between them. It's been interesting watching groups of people try to realign their traditional viewpoints in order to live peacefully with each other (or not...). The festering situation in the Middle East is one prominent example and I'd say the American elections are turning into another. On a lesser scale, we all have our similar challenges. While idealism is vital to a life worth living, it must not become a dictator. You strive for the sky, but if you get no farther than climbing a hill, so be it. True progress in the world is a matter of taking a countless number of baby steps towards your goal -- rarely does life proceed in giant leaps. Your vision needs to be tested in the real world, to see if it's truly viable, and that takes time and effort. As we near the end of this aspect, it's time to tie up all the loose ends of our projects (yes, Saturn!) and consolidate our gains. Create some stability in your new life patterns so they will continue into the future more easily. Yes, it falls short of the goal perhaps, but you can always work on that another day.

The new moon falls in the midst of the storm period, but the energies are taking a snooze right now. You've heard the news about this big pattern several times already -- yep, it's more of the same affecting the coming month. There's a couple of interesting details about the new moon chart that may indicate how the storm energies are evolving over time. First of all, the Sun and Moon are disengaged from all the storm activity as they are isolated from the other planets by aspect. At some crucial level, we're rather disconnected from the events going on around us and certainly don't feel responsible for the gathering situations we face. While a bit of dispassion and perspective is useful, this much seems worrisome. Also, after Mars connected with Uranus early in the month, Uranus has seemed to fall off the radar screen. The emphasis has moved to Neptune (and the Yod), as though the higher intuition is dissolving into pure feeling. We'll hang out with this Neptune impulse for a few days yet, but Pluto is already gaining strength. That's because an odd T-square is forming between Venus, Jupiter and Pluto. What a combination! It's hard to make sense of this one. Venus and Jupiter are the happiest and most helpful planets around, but Pluto is looking at their dark underbelly, trying to transform them from the ground up. While I'm a big fan of listening to your inner, intuitive voice, I'd be a little leary of blindly following that voice just now. Venus (the feelings) is still recovering from her recent bout of retrograde motion, so your intuition may be overly swayed by Pluto's seductive reasoning. Think things over two or three more times than usual before acting on your gut. Venus and Jupiter are also both associated with money and wealth, so it's tempting to expect some kind of troubling economic news this month (though things do seem to be improving very slowly recently). Or maybe this is simply a call to look at wealth from a new perspective. As I said, this is an odd one. It should be an exciting lunar month.

Vesta stands still at her retrograde station of 28Pi23 on the 27th, about to start a 3 month retrograde cycle. She continues in reverse gear until Oct 27, when she goes direct at 13Pi53. Vesta is an introvert. While she enjoys interacting with others at a deep level, it seems to tire her out after awhile. The issue here is that Vesta derives her strength and inspiration from within herself, deep in her own psyche. To be engaged with others all the time draws her away from the wellspring of her own power. When this happens, her natural tendency is to retire from the outer world for a time and go within once more. It may be confusing to her friends and loved ones, who often have trouble understanding why she "goes away" so much -- it feels too much like rejection to them. Anyway, when Vesta has communed with herself and recharged, she'll come back as though nothing has happened. Of course, Pisces is the epitomy of other worldliness, so we're getting a double dose of wanting to get away from the world. The fact that Vesta goes retrograde now and extends her stay in Pisces to 9 months (instead of 3) shows that Vesta issues are highly significant for us, particularly people with a strong creative or introverted nature. Understanding these cycles of withdrawal and returning, expressing your inner creative urge, living in a way that honors your own sense of identity and integrity -- these may be on your mind often. First word of advice for Vesta people: don't hole up in your house all summer. Vesta's home is an extension of her inner world and the temptation is to hang out where life is comfortable. It's easy for Vesta to drop off the face of the earth at times like this. Second, make room in your everyday life for creative play or expression, let the inner world come out where it can be seen. Something deep is brewing inside you the next few months, so give it a chance to change your world. Third, since your home is your temple, it might be an excellent idea to give your temple a good cleaning. Despite rule one, you're going to be here a lot, so you might as well make your surroundings as pleasant as possible. Not only that, but by sweeping out the old "debris of living" from your surroundings, you also make room for new energies to enter your stage. This has the potential to be a very productive period of your life (if only for yourself). Finally, maintain relations with a few close and trusted friends -- don't forget to come up for air occasionally. The shadow side of Vesta, the part of life she frequently ignores, is friendship. You weren't made to go through life alone. So, it's time to see who you really are. Happy hunting!

Ceres enters Virgo on the 29th for two months. She'll move off into Libra on Oct 3. Ceres is often associated with food and eating, while Virgo symbolizes health concerns and caring for the physical body (among other things). The two together indicate an excellent time for making some changes in your physical health, especially diet and weight problems. It's best to examine (in a light hearted, but honest way) what you put into your body and the influences you subject yourself to in the course of a day. Focus on getting more of what truly nourishes you and less of what might feel fun until the morning after. Of course, not everything that feeds you is physical substance -- people need more than food, drink and vitamin pills to prosper. Ceres stands for caring, both for self and others, at all levels. Promoting healthy emotions and supportive thoughts is also vital for your well being. Do what you can to make your world more happy and pleasurable in coming months. You deserve it...

Saturn is quincunx Pluto on the 31st for the first of three contacts. There will be repeat performances on 2005-1-19 and 2005-5-23. This is a new influence entering our world. I'll be honest: this may be a rough aspect coming up. First of all, both Saturn and Pluto are high on the list of "the usual suspects" whenever life gets tough, though for rather different reasons. Saturn is usually connected with discipline, hard work, responsibility, etc., but it also has to do with creating form and structure in your life so your energies and efforts have a framework to operate within as you try to get your work done. Discipline, in this sense, is just another word for structure. It's the visible and tangible expression in the material world of who you are inside. Pluto, on the other hand, cares nothing for who you are right now and the structures you've built up. His focus is on who you are supposed to be and how you can be more in harmony with your true nature. He literally destroys anything in your life that is false or inauthentic, that stands in the way of you being the high spirit you are at a deeper level. As such, he is often opposed to the workings of Saturn and given that this is a quincunx, there's an uneasy tension between these two planets in our lives. Remember that Saturn is still in Cancer these days, while Pluto is slowly moving through Sagittarius. We feel the need to consolidate and stabilize life in the same old patterns that have served us (more or less) in the past, to perpetuate the status quo, while at the same time responding to the urge to overthrow it all and build a glorious new future. (Unfortunately, with Pluto in Sag, the glorious new future all too often resembles the glorious past that is causing so much trouble, especially in the religious arena -- spiritual evolution is a torturous path with many potholes.) Obviously, we can't indulge both urges at once. There's a question of balance here: how much to retain, how much to overhaul, what is your comfort level with change, etc. Recognize that this tension involves a lot of stress, physically as well as emotionally. Don't rush into things too quickly -- precipitous change of everything in sight can destroy so much of your structure that you can't function. But don't slow down the process of change so much that you cease being able to respond to life's new challenges. Pluto's response to such foot dragging is unpleasant in the extreme, as he proceeds to force change down your throat on his terms, not yours. Approach the coming months with respect, awareness and more than a bit of courage. After all, the last aspect of Saturn and Pluto (their opposition of 2001-2002) was widely considered one of the major influences leading to 9-11 and the current war on terror. These planets will not be taken lightly.

One of the critical parts of this full moon chart is the Saturn-Pluto quincunx that went off earlier in the day. There's an air of gravity or significance in this chart. It engages us on many levels at once -- only Neptune seems to be left out of the picture. With a few months of hindsight, you may be able to recognize this time as starting off some important changes in direction for you, though right now none of that is very clear. Old planetary influences in our lives are passing away and new aspects are starting to appear. It's a good idea to startle yourself awake sometime soon and spend a few moments feeling the new themes and problems starting to arise. If you can recognize the lessons early and start thinking them over, there's less of a "crisis" down the road. Mercury is directly opposite Uranus today, putting the thinking mind into a creative tizzy. Explore novel ideas playfully, but give them time to mature before implementing them. You may also be more in a dreaming mood, with the Moon cozying up with Neptune later on. Overall, I get a rather warm and comfortable feeling from this chart (maybe it's Sun and Mars in Leo), so despite all my gloomy warnings, this is really a time to look forward to. There's always something exciting about starting a new adventure, even if the way is murky...