Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
New Moon at 14Cn30, 7-6
Jupiter Quincunx Uranus, 7-8
Jupiter Quintile Pluto, 7-8
Saturn enters Leo, 7-16
Saturn Opposite Chiron, 7-21
Full Moon at 28Cp46, 7-21
Mercury Retrograde Station at 20Le28, 7-22
Mars enters Taurus, 7-28
Chiron reenters Capricorn, 7-31
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
Happy 4th of July! Since this is generally considered the birthday of the USA, the astrological events during this month are often an indication of what will happen on the national scene during the coming year. It's also Bush's solar return, since his Sun is the same as the nation's Sun. There's a lot to talk about in July. One of the biggest stories is the passage of Saturn from Cancer into Leo on the 16th for a two and a half year stay. This is a major shift in emphasis concerning the tasks and lessons before us. Saturn is a karmic Taskmaster and Teacher, the guy who keeps us straight and honest. The spotlight is on Leo issues of self and ego, balancing the desire to have your way with the need to compromise with others. If you have an unhealthy ego, the coming years may be a rocky time. The coming retrograde cycle this winter for Saturn hits Bush particularly hard, repeatedly going over his Ascendent, Mercury and Pluto! And this is only one of many crucial themes emerging this month. Energetically, July starts out with a powerful storm pattern the first week which takes a long time to fade out. It's not until the final week of the month that this pattern completely dissipates. Get ready for a marathon, in other words. Don't forget the Mercury retrograde period starting on the 22nd either -- this may not be a month for clear headed thinking. Slow down and consider your decisions carefully -- it's easy to stumble into one of your blindspots and screw things up. We've got quite a time before us.
There's certainly enough planetary action in July to keep us all busy. This includes 3 "big aspects", 3 important sign changes and of course, the Mercury retrograde station on the 22nd.
The new moon checks in as last night's Koz Alert is on the wane, though at 529 units, the lunation chart is no slouch. There's a huge fan-shaped group of planets contributing to this storm centered around 10 to 16 degrees of each zodiac sign -- at least 11 planets (out of 15) are wired in. Hidden in this fan are more common patterns such as a T-square and a Grand Trine, so you probably get the idea about how big a kick in the butt this coming month will be.
The new moon is in Cancer, so the emotional ties to family and country are up for review. One complicating issue is the self-centered drives of Mars in Aries opposite Jupiter in Libra, which forms a T-square with the new moon. There are so many conflicting drives in this T-square, primarily centered around what to do with your emotional connections with others when it impacts your own self-interest. Is the "big picture" more important than your individual desires? It may sound like an abstract notion, but given that our country is in two wars or that parents need to constantly compromise their own well-being to care for their families, this is a struggle with everyday implications, sometimes even life and death ones. With Uranus in Pisces, self-sacrifice is in the air and must at least be considered. Granted, sacrifice may take some unusual forms with Uranus in charge of the situation, but there's an idealistic undertone to everything we do these days. It's a matter of listening within and figuring out what is truly important to you. There are no pat answers these days...
Jupiter is quincunx Uranus for the last of 3 times on the 8th. The first two contacts of this aspect were on 2004-10-10 and 2005-5-7. This has to be one of the stranger aspects we're encountering currently. Judging from the planets involved, you'd expect this to be pleasant and upbeat time, since Jupiter and Uranus are both optimistic energies. However, quincunxes are an odd aspect. It seems no matter what planets they bring together, there's always an element of subtle discord or friction. You need to look closely sometimes to understand how two planets, seemingly so compatible, can rub each other the wrong way. Jupiter is in Libra, a placement that wants to expand your social boundaries as broad (though not always so deep) as possible. He wants to meet people and interact with them, at least when he's not in retrograde motion. Uranus in Pisces is a whole different matter. Pisces is a hermit, monk or recluse, someone in service to an ideal larger than himself. There's a depth of feeling and commitment here that is hard to accept. With Uranus, however, the forms this takes can be rather strange and defy conventional standards. Obviously, these are extremely different ways of engaging the world and finding a middle ground between them is no easy task. On a larger scale, Jupiter in Libra refers to issues of social justice and what that means to different people. What actions are considered just or unjust depends a great deal on what your basic beliefs are. Many of the social conflicts we see in our nation and between peoples around the world are colossal misunderstandings based on belief systems that can't be reconciled or transcended. Devotion to beliefs that don't recognize the humanity of others is an invitation to conflict and even violence. There are countless instances of this in the world today -- I won't bore you with examples. It's stunning how often pursuing one's beliefs, even spiritual ones, leads to behavior that violates those beliefs -- that's a red warning flag that something needs to be reconsidered immediately! So there are conflicting drives at work in us and we can't really make them work together -- that's the message of the quincunx. It's a call to question and doubt, to look at yourself and your "god givens" from a fresh perspective. Eventually, it will get much easier.
Jupiter is quintile Pluto for the last of 3 times, also on the 8th. The previous contacts were 2004-11-5 and 2005-4-15. It appears that Jupiter in Libra is simultaneously bumping up against Pluto as well, though with very different potential results. Quintiles are rather unique among the aspects in the way they work. They are neither good nor bad, but operate by changing your awareness so much that old problem areas are simply transcended. You're beating your head against a seemingly intractable issue, then an "aha!" moment hits and suddenly it's no big deal -- a solution appears of its own accord. Pluto has been in Sagittarius, the sign of wisdom, philosophy and religion, since 1995. At a lower and preliminary level, Pluto brings the issues of its sign into an obsessive focus, exaggerating the importance of one area at the expense of an overall balance. It's not at all surprising that this past decade has seen the rise of fundamentalist thinking of all kinds around the globe, not to mention the wars and conflicts this irrationality leaves in its wake. There are powerful unconscious energies building up at a mass level and such undifferentiated behaviors are often little better than the power of a mob. Pluto only starts showing his higher side when the individual severs himself from the mass mind and starts to explore his inner world on his own. Nobody else can show you how to know yourself, let alone do the exploring for you. This energy demands you authentically be who you are in full consciousness, setting aside all the false identities we borrow from our culture. Libra is often too concerned with making relationships go smoothly, acting in a way that is pleasing to others, to achieve such authenticity. But the quintile says there's another way. At the level of the competitive ego, "being yourself" is incompatible with "playing the game" -- deceptions large and small are part of daily life as we try to get ahead. But that's just the level of the solar plexus chakra. I see in my healing work that when the heart chakra opens, playing the usual games becomes intolerable. Honesty, mutual trust and working together in an open, transparent manner actually produces better results than competition, as well as opens us up to a closer human connection with each other. Viewed from the heart center, there is no contradiction between opening up and expanding into the social world. As you increasingly come from the heart, you slowly transform your world, one interaction at a time. When nations and societies start to act this way, the whole earth changes. Not quickly and all at once, certainly, but it's a tide that can't be resisted over the long haul. We've seen some remarkable transformations around the world since last November that appeared out of the blue. It just required enough people to decide that it was time to break with the past. And that starts with shedding the fears and illusions you wrap around yourself in "protection".
Saturn moves from Cancer into Leo on the 16th, where it will stay until 2007-9-2. Saturn is a Taskmaster, the guy that insists (in no uncertain terms) that we get serious and responsible about some area of life that he's focusing on. That means Leo issues for the next two years. Leo often gets a bum rap from people, since he's popularly equated with the lower expression of the egotistical snob, the deluded guy that thinks he should be treated like a king. In fact, that's only a very limited and underdeveloped expression of the Leo energy. This sign is a crucial turning point within the zodiac, the part of the cycle where a person steps out of the family matrix and becomes an individual capable of standing on his own two feet. Leo is essentially about coming of age. It's the much misunderstood Joseph Campbell path of following your bliss. Bliss is not the same as hedonistic indulgence, "me first" at all costs. Rather, bliss is found in the small things that are unique to you as an individual, the things that attract you simply because of who you are deep down. Not pursuing your bliss is being untrue to yourself. However, you need to follow your path consciously and responsibly if you are to mature in a healthy manner. This is even more the case now that Saturn has shown up. Saturn has no tolerance for the childish ego that gets whiny and petulant when he doesn't get his way. If anything, the old Teacher turns the topic of ego around 180. It's less "what's in it for me?" and more "what do I have to offer?" Saturn in Leo focuses on developing a healthy ego with a warm, open heart, a more noble being that cares enough to give back as much as he receives. Frankly, anything less is more trouble than it's worth now. Saturn is not likely to let the snobs have their way. It's a rough time ahead for people with unhealthy egos that are overly self-concerned. Pay attention to when you bump heads with others. Ask yourself what's the source of the conflict. These conflicts are mirrors set in your path to show you the shortcomings of your own behavior, but the lessons are only useful if you take the time to look in those mirrors. Take responsibility for fixing the stuff you don't like about your reflection. Saturn is typically appreciative of the person that takes responsibility for his own behavior and it's always helpful to be on his good side. This is a time to grow up.
As if to anchor Saturn's entry into Leo, Saturn is opposite Chiron on the 21st. This has to be one of the oddest aspects I've ever studied, due to Chiron's highly elliptical orbit. This opposition has been going on since 1986, except for a gap between 1995 and 2003. This contact is the 25th of 27 and the first to happen in the signs of Leo and Aquarius (the last 4 were in Cancer and Capricorn). So it's the same old aspect, but the underlying themes and trends are changing once again. Saturn often represents the forms and structures in our lives, the "god given" framework that we take for granted. Chiron is a bit of a maverick, the sly teacher that initiates us to the next level that we didn't think we could attain. He's both challenging and supporting Saturn in Leo as we try to create a higher sense of self. Chiron often works by making us face our most chilling inner wounds, since it's frequently these suppressed parts of our makeup that wind up being our greatest gifts, ironically enough. In Aquarius, it's the mental realm that is up for examination, those crazy, idealistic, flighty ideas that we can't imagine others taking seriously. The mutual exploration of these visions and ideals is helpful as we go through our current growth spurt. The feedback of others gives us a sanity check on our own deeply held beliefs, while providing alternative pathways to examine that we wouldn't have seen on our own. For the insecure, such a challenge can be rather unnerving, but if you let your guards down, it's quite exhilarating. The final 3 contacts are more light hearted than the earlier ones -- enjoy the change of pace.
There are several curious facts about the full moon chart that fascinate me. First of all, the houses for this chart are nearly identical with the new moon chart, so all the planets are pretty much in the same positions in both charts. I always get the feeling of "unfinished business" whenever I see this. It's as though we need to get a double dose of certain situations before we really get the hint. Second, this is just 3 hours after the Saturn-Chiron opposition is exact. With the Sun next to Saturn (only 2 degrees apart) and the Moon near Chiron, the opposition and the full moon are operating as a single energy. Third, throw in Mars and you have another T-square. This is probably a good time to rethink the structures and frameworks in your life, as the world is shifting quickly and your personal foundations need to shift to keep up. Put some effort into putting money and material plane issues in order, as that Mars needs something constructive to do. He can cause trouble if he's idle too much. Otherwise, carry on...
Mercury is standing still at 20Le28 on the 22nd, about to start a 3 week retrograde period. It backs up to 8Le45 by Aug 15 before resuming normal motion. Mercury is the thinking part of the mind, the part that uses words and symbols to make sense of the world and gain mastery over it (or so it thinks!). However, when Mercury starts backing up like this, it seems the thinking mind goes on the fritz. Instead of comprehending your world, you wind up making decisions based on numerous misunderstandings. It's considered a bad time for important communications (which tend to get garbled), big decisions (which go wrong due to blindspots in your thinking) and just trying to make sense of life. This particular retrograde period takes place entirely in Leo, so Leo issues may play some intriguing roles in our messed up thinking. Possibilities include: letting pride influence your judgment, thinking only in terms of how a matter impacts you and ignoring the effect on others, unconsciously assuming your beliefs are "truth" and that others see the world as you do, etc. The surprising outcome of Mercury retrograde is always that the world is bigger and more complicated than our stories can ever encompass. Our explanations always fall short of reality, but the discrepency is certainly more apparent now. The best usage of this period is to chip away at the tyrannical hold your thoughts, beliefs and ego-responses have on your behavior and your vision of the world. As you see past the veil of words and symbols towards the mystery of the world beyond, your eyes are opened and your wonder is restored. Learn to see language as a tool, not a prison. It's sad how much conflict is about words and meanings that obscure more fundamental realities. Take life lightly in coming weeks and don't believe everything you think. Life settles down after the direct station in mid August.
Mars moves from Aries into Taurus on the 28th for an extended stay, due to an upcoming retrograde period in Taurus. He doesn't bust out into Gemini until 2006-2-17. If you look into the astrological details, this is not supposed to be a good placement for Mars, but in my experience this one works out quite well. Mars is a bit of a hot head anyway and Aries only seems to make him more brash and impetuous than ever. Taurus quiets him down, bringing patience and perseverence while toning down the excessive "male energy" of Mars. It you have some project that requires slow and steady effort to accomplish, this is your time. Mars in Taurus may not operate quickly or smart, but he does know how to keep plodding ahead until the work is done. The sensuous qualities of Taurus also make this a romantic placement, with a powerful but low-key sex drive that fuels a lot of feeling good. Tone down the pushiness and single-minded focus that runs all over other people and learn to enjoy the companionship. Simple pleasures satisfy deeply these days. Slow down and allow yourself to take it in.
Chiron backs up from Aquarius into Capricorn on the 31st. It will stay in the final degrees of Capricorn until Dec 5, when it reenters Aquarius for good. This dance across the border is Chiron's way of gradually moving into Aquarius this year. It first moved into Aquarius on Feb 21, introducing some new themes related to expressing your ideals in a more up to date fashion without getting sucked into the shadow side of those ideals. We've been seeing a lot of these issues this month, especially with the opposition to Saturn recently. However, it's time to take a detour back into Capricorn for some cleanup work. Look for the areas of your life that are hampered by a lack of discipline or organization. Capricorn is good at handling the "nuts and bolts" issues that allow your efforts to proceed smoothly. Get your life, especially work and money, into order so that survival issues aren't holding you back -- you've got other things to concentrate on shortly. Also see what is robbing you of your authority and sense of expertise. People are great at holding themselves down or becoming subservient to situations that prevent them from succeeding. It's time to resolve and break free of these anchors that stifle your progress. Get this cleanup work done in coming months -- there are no make-up classes for decades to come.