Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Fourth of July, 7-4
Pallas Retrograde Station at 19Pi23, 7-5
Mercury Direct Station at 2Cn28, 7-9
Vesta Direct Station at 2Sa21, 7-11
New Moon at 21Cn41, 7-14
Pluto Conjunct the Galactic Center at 26Sa57, 7-16
Saturn Contraparallel Neptune, 7-17
Venus Retrograde Station at 2Vi57, 7-27
Full Moon at 6Aq31, 7-29
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
At last! The big outer planet barrage we've been enduring for nearly 4 months is actually breaking up. Honest. No more towering Koz Alerts this month, no big storms. In fact, there's hardly anything significant to talk about in traditional astrological terms for July -- some minor stations and that's about it. It's almost like the stage has been cleared completely in order to highlight the one truly important story. I'm talking about Pluto conjuncting the Galactic Center (GC) for the second time on the 16th, a repeat of their first contact last December. This conjunction is a subtle, but deep acting influence that is in the background the entire year, easily ignored when life is busy, but unmistakeable in its transformative effects when you stand back and pay attention. It may not affect most people directly, except the most sensitive of us, as this combination guides the evolution of the earth as a whole on the scale of centuries. We'll be most aware of these potent energies around mid-month, especially after the new moon on the 14th. Otherwise, this is the quietest, most disconnected month we've seen this year. Considering how often people have been complaining about how stressed out they've been feeling after 4 months of overdrive, we could use a break. The question is, did we go too far in the other direction? There's literally no life this month -- a little "oomph!" would come in handy now and then.
The major theme for July is "not much" -- it's definitely a slow news month. There are 4 stations: Mercury and Vesta go direct, while Pallas and Venus go retrograde. All these planets standing still is an important clue for understanding July. With Mercury and Venus both essentially standing still most of the month, 2 of the 4 big "aspect makers" (the other two are Mars and the Sun) are on the sidelines. When studying the list of aspects going off in July, I was impressed at how little action there is. It's just plain sluggish and slow moving these days. The only event approaching a "big aspect" is the second conjunction of Pluto with the GC on the 16th, a truly significant influence in my book. After that, there's a contraparallel between Saturn and Neptune, so we're really scraping the bottom of the barrel.
This modest looking waveform is all that's left of 4 months of Koz Alerts and even this much will be gone shortly. Wrap up old, ongoing business the next few days so that you won't have them hanging over your head during the quieter times. On a larger scale, we are coming up to the USA solar return shortly (on the 5th, apparently). I've glanced briefly at how the US chart is affected by current planetary positions and frankly, I find very little connection between current energies and the life of the nation. Perhaps we need to work through our national karma, especially the Iraq war situation, before we can even focus on getting back on track. Bush's personal chart is similarly out of sync with the present day planets. I'm sure there's some juicy connections in there if I dug harder, but I'm surprised to have to dig at all. With the nation in such a contentious mood, the next elections already roaring ahead and the Bush presidency imploding, you'd think these charts would be more eloquent. I doubt the current situation has really reached the tipping point, that things may get more heated before a new consensus forms. In the meantime, we're entering the coming year on weak and shifting energies -- we're pretty much on our own for now.
Pallas reaches her retrograde station of 19Pi23 (near Uranus!) on the 5th, starting 4 months of reverse gear. She will back up to 0Pi51 by Oct 31. Pallas Athena is typically described as the "strategic planning" part of the psyche, as well as your creative and artistic muse. She's also into pursuing underdog politics, becoming involved with helping people that fit your definition of oppressed or disadvantaged. When Pallas is backing up in the sky as she is the next 4 months, all these creative juices seem to turn back on themselves and become more inward. You may be slightly obsessed with some grand plan or vision, needing to retreat from outer world concerns awhile to bring your ideas to fruition. Since the entire retrograde zone is in Pisces , there might be some spiritual or ethereal overtones to this work. However, this cycle is intimately bound up with that other Piscean traveller, Uranus. This emphasizes more of the mental, intuitive energy that Pallas does so well. It may also involve reassessing some of your more basic ideas and assumptions, particularly those self-limiting ideas that undermine your effectiveness in the world. Plans made now may take a longer time to accomplish and they certainly won't unfold the way you expected them to. Perhaps the universe is just trying to get you to turn your notions around a few times and look at them from a fresh perspective. Given Pisces' reputation for long term karmic consequences, it's not a bad thing to have something slow you down a little. Just listen to that inner, intuitive voice a bit more. The detours are worth it...
Mercury goes direct at 2Cn28 on the 9th, after 3 weeks of reverse motion. He's been retrograding since his station at 11Cn35 on Jun 15. If it's possible to have a misunderstanding about something, Mercury retrograde is the time to do it. A prime example is a class of mine that refuses to stay scheduled -- for a month now, students can't seem to comprehend simple, declarative sentences about when to show up. If the class doesn't pull off this time on the 10th, the day after Mercury turns around, I figure it's time to give up. Mercury is the thinking, communicating, symbol using part of the psyche, the Story Teller that "explains" the world, gives orders and thinks it's in control. The dirty secret for Mercury is that these explanatory stories are little more than a best guess, subject to being contradicted at any time -- like the last 3 weeks. With the world not fitting gracefully into the mental boxes we've provided for it, it feels like the world is crazy and chaotic. The trouble is not with the world, but with our boxes that are the wrong size and shape -- our stories need to change, grow and evolve to match the world better. Since this cycle takes place entirely in Cancer , there's a strange merging of thinking and feeling. Emotions may be clouding your thinking, making you see your situation in a distorted manner for no apparent reason. Similarly, these distorted perceptions and bogus "facts" in your head can affect how you feel about these situations, feeding your fears and paranoias perhaps. It's a complicated situation. As we move past the direct station, the mental fog slowly starts to lift. Your thoughts become clearer, communications with others are comprehended, the world seems more sensible. Mercury is completely out of this retrograde zone by the 24th.
Vesta stands still at her direct station of 2Sa21 on the 11th, ending a 3 month retrograde cycle. She originally turned around at 15Sa06 on Apr 18. Vesta is a woman who loves her own company. While she likes others, she can only stand socializing so long before she needs to be alone on her own turf. It's nothing personal, it's just that she finds her strength and inspiration inside of herself, not on the outside. She's a professional introvert that way. During her retrograde cycles, this need to put the world on hold and go within becomes exaggerated. Considering the outgoing and sociable nature of Sagittarius, this has been quite a balancing act. Of course, Sag also stands for things that are uplifting and don't involve other people, such as philosophy and spirituality, so I'm sure Vesta has found some interesting things to preoccupy herself while she's holed up at home. OK, so she's been doing housecleaning on her ideas and outlooks instead, especially the feelings that lead her to become less than she could be. Lightening your mental baggage is a useful yoga from time to time, as the ideas that inspire you one year become boat anchors the next year. It can be very liberating to get down the basics that truly serve your purposes. It's the direct station now, however -- time to come up for air. Your friends are still waiting for you on the outside. Show them what you've learned in your inner journeys.
There's not much going on in the new moon chart. The action can be summed up in the planets Sun and Moon, Neptune, Saturn, with a little help from Pluto and Uranus. None of the faster moving, personal planets are seriously involved in this chart. This translates into some intense and ungrounded energies coming in with no way to channel or express them. It's a big "what's this stuff?" reaction. Something weird is bubbling up inside, but it doesn't seem to relate to everyday life at all yet. Neptune is probably the strongest planet in the chart, spreading a spacey and unfocused soft light on everything that is strangely captivating. Perhaps the bigger power lurking in the shadows is the Pluto-GC placement coming up in two days. All this calm makes it easier to tune into those shadows. Take in the new vibes -- sort it out later. I guess knowing what's going on as it happens is so out of date...
Pluto is conjunct the Galactic Center for the second of 3 contacts on the morning of the 16th, a few days after the new moon. Their first contact was back on Dec 29, the first time such a conjunction has happened since 1759. They have one more contact coming up on Oct 28. I've been anticipating this aspect and how to work with it for many years now and have a strange fascination with these energies that is hard to explain. Partly, it's because this contact is so deep acting, touching on some of the most mysterious areas of astrology and spirituality the planet has ever seen. I'm also intrigued by the uniqueness of the conjunctions this year -- in all the history of humanity (as best we can tell), this is the first time we've consciously experienced this connection. Pluto was only discovered in 1930, while awareness of the giant black hole at the GC (Sgr A*, as the astronomers know it) has only emerged in the last few decades. This is a new astrological phenomenon, one that no person alive has ever experienced before. As an astrological influence, Pluto has always grabbed my attention. He rules over the deepest parts of the human unconscious, the parts that could be compared to notions of "the Higher Self" or "Soul" when you see how he directs your life. Pluto makes sure you become the person you're supposed to be, whether you (at a conscious, ego level) want to or not. If that involves derailing all your glorious plans and stealing away all the things and props in your life that make you overly comfortable, so be it. Pluto is unfazed by such "petty" concerns and lets nothing stand in his way. The GC has taken me more time and effort to get to know. This amazing power point in our galaxy appears concerned with the evolution of the planet as a whole and is happy to quietly work in cycles of centuries and millennia. There's an intense intelligence that operates on a very high spiritual plane that comes through the GC, a perspective that views all of human history as a little blip. But as a cosmic experiment in consciousness, this is still an important blip. I organized a mass meditation of sorts with some friends for the December contact and we were all suprised at the high, clear, detached state of consciousness that came through that afternoon. Not at all what we were expecting from the Dark Lord at the edge of the Black Hole. Pluto is retrograde at this second contact, so we may be in more of a "cleaning up loose ends" phase of this cycle, learning how to operate on this higher plane more skillfully than before. Whatever it is, this contact on the morning of the 16th (around 10:49 AM CDT) should be quite profound. It just seems like a part of ourselves that is very critical to become familiar with in these changing times. If you have a few moments at this time, get quiet within and tune in to this galactic initiation. I'd love to hear what you experience...
Saturn is contraparallel Neptune on the 17th. While not a big deal in itself (many astrologers don't bother with parallels and contraparallels at all), this connection reflects the opposition between these same planets that just completed on Jun 25. A contraparallel is an odd kind of aspect that happens when two planets are the same distance from the equator, one north and one south. They operate similar to oppositions, which is why they reinforce an opposition so well. Saturn is nuts-and-bolts, material-plane, hard-core reality and our obligations to such a world. Neptune is more a part of the dream world, the ideal reality that is behind the mere physical, the realm where everything's connected and meaningful. These two perspectives function by very different rules and don't always agree. It takes quite a balancing act to bring these two sides into harmony. This struggle between idealism and practicality, between the way things "should" be and what we can realistically expect them to become, has been a constant theme the last year. Particularly with the elections last fall and the new Congress, people have expected change to happen much more quickly than the system can reasonably respond. Patience with the pace of change is both a virtue and a vice, depending upon which side of the ideological fence you're sitting. The opposition is already starting to fade (it will take several months yet), so this contraparallel is like the final chord in this song. I'm not sure we really figured out this connection -- balance is a hard lesson to learn.
Venus stands still at 2Vi57 on the 27th, starting one of her rare retrograde cycles. She will back up to 16Le35 by Sep 8, then resume normal motion. In my opinion, Venus retrograde is much worse than Mercury. With Mercury retrograde, only the thinking mind is screwed up. While this may be a major impediment for some, it's still relatively easy to notice your brains are in mothballs and work around it. Venus works at a much more instinctive and automatic level of the psyche. In very broad terms, Venus is the instinct of attraction and repulsion. You either like something or you don't, are attracted to it or want to get away from it. It's a basic survival instinct to go towards the stuff that makes you feel good and away from the stuff that's unpleasant. Most of the time, this works out really good for us. Venus retrograde is not one of those times. Your basic instincts about what's good for you and serves your purposes, versus what doesn't, mysteriously takes a vacation. This is not a good time to trust your gut level instincts and go with what seems right, as they usually urge you to do in new age circles, since this is precisely what is not working correctly for you. Astrologers urge you not to buy pretty things to decorate your home when Venus is backing up, because it may look like a huge lapse of good taste when your sense of aesthetics wakes up again. It's treacherous to fall in love or start a new relationship these days for similar reasons -- you may wonder come October what you ever saw in this person. In short, this is a good time to experiment with situations you might normally not be attracted to, to crawl out of your ruts. Just make sure you have a way out later on in case you change your mind back again. Venus often gets stuck in our lives, our sense of attractions sometimes falling many years behind where we are now. It's good to close the gap now and then, if only to help insure you get those things that actually make you happy. It all starts with noticing what feels good these days, even if it isn't good for you.
The full moon has considerably more organization and structure than the new moon, so your current situation may feel like it's firming up and becoming more definite. About the only planet that is not active in this chart is Venus, newly retrograde. The key pattern this evening is the Mars-Saturn-Neptune T-square that has been building for some time now and becomes most active tomorrow when the Moon goes over Neptune. This T-square seriously undermines your ability for effective action, as Mars the Warrior God is both the focal point of this pattern, but also considerably weakened by it. Given a choice between the dreamy and otherworldly Neptune and the more practical Saturn, Mars in Taurus comes down on Saturn's side for a change. Perhaps this is simply because practical matters can't be ignored easily these days -- you can't make headway on your plans until the "little stuff" is in order. Mars-Neptune aspects also tend to undermine the Mars tendencies to step up to the plate and take charge -- an air of "whatever..." steals his thunder. There's also a tendency to be scaling back emotional commitments and connections the next few weeks -- an Aquarius moon is much less likely to be trapped by strong feelings than a Cancer Moon. Be careful to think through your actions before starting out and don't rely on "gut feelings" to get you through. Remember that Venus is backing up, so such gut instincts are rather unreliable in coming weeks. This is not the easiest chart in the world, but at least the overall strength of the chart is low enough that you can figure your way through the problem areas if you slow down and don't rush into things. Take your time...
The armed conflict between Hamas and Fatah in Palestine took an ominous turn in June when Hamas kicked Fatah out of the Gaza strip, effectively partitioning this proto-nation into "Hamastan and Fatahstan" (as one commentator put it). There's no one definitive time for when this takeover became final on the 13th, but when Gaza residents woke up on the 14th, Hamas was firmly in control. If you relocate the new moon chart of Jun 14, a chart of new beginnings, to Gaza City, the new moon has just risen over the eastern horizon, a "new day" symbolically. More importantly, Pluto is closely opposite the new moon, hovering just below the 7th cusp. This is a classic shadow projection placement -- Hamas sees enemies trying to undermine it everywhere, even among their own people, and seems unable to comprehend their own involvement in creating these problems. An attitude of war, conflict and no compromise makes it impossible to achieve peace and drives away even friends who want to help. I doubt peace is possible in this troubled part of the world until a serious attitude adjustment occurs. Religious and nationalistic passions are a poor foundation for living peacefully with your neighbors, especially if it's "not your fault" all the time. Can't we lay off on the ideology awhile? (Not likely -- Mercury retrograde was the next day!)