Current Transits for July 2009

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


Uranus Retrograde Station at 26Pi37, 7-1
Juno enters Aries, 7-2
Full Moon / Appulse Lunar Eclipse at 15Cp24, 7-7
Jupiter Conjunct Neptune, 7-10
Mars enters Gemini, 7-11
Neptune Return, 7-17
New Moon / Total Solar Eclipse at 29Cn26, 7-21
Jupiter Conjunct Chiron, 7-22

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

We seem to be a broken record. For the third month in a row, the picture is dominated by the Neptune Knot -- Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune all conjunct in Aquarius, with help from Uranus over in Pisces. This pattern started up back in May and has been the cornerstone of every major planetary storm since then. The effects of this group of outer planets is both subtle and profound, unconsciously overhauling our world while leaving the conscious ego perplexed and clueless. In effect, all our deepest beliefs and assumptions about the world and ourselves are being mirrored back to us with startling results. If your outlook on life is basically sane and reasonable, the resulting movie is surprising in a sometimes delightful way. In particular, synchronicities of all sorts are the order of the day, as the inner and outer worlds reflect each other. Life is not so rosy, however, for people who harbor a more negative or confused outlook on life. What you believe is what you see has become the new normal. If you don't like the show you're producing, change the channel. When you raise your awareness to a higher level, your world eventually catches up to you. Yes, it sounds easy in theory, but in practice is one of the toughest things to do. We float atop all these invisible patterns without knowing they even exist and you can't change what you don't acknowledge. All this mirroring is an exercise in waking up. Some of us will get it to some degree, many will never understand why their world is so crazy. Anyway, there are 3 major planetary storms full of this kind of energy in July, so we're going to be quite busy. And then there's the other events this month, the "big aspects", the eclipses, etc. Get ready for an amazing trip!

There are a number of important stories this month. In the "big aspects" department, we have Jupiter forming conjunctions with both Neptune and Chiron. Mars and Juno both change signs. Uranus is standing still at its retrograde station on the 1st. Neptune makes another of its returns. Oh, and then there are the eclipses coming up -- 2 in July and another in early August. We've got a lot on our plates in coming weeks!

Uranus reaches its retrograde station of 26Pi37 on the 1st, starting a 5 month period of reverse motion. It will back up to its direct station of 22Pi42 by Dec 1. Uranus is the last of the 4 big knot planets to go retrograde this spring and summer, so all that potent unconscious energy is being turned back upon itself for a few months. Uranus is the Trickster planet, the surprise that comes at you from left field, the intuitive mind that sees situations in a flash and overturns your previous assumptions. In short, he's an over-caffeinated reality check that shakes us by the shoulders and yells until we wake up. Normally, this inner voice of sanity is quite helpful, even when he's not entirely welcome. I'm a little more dubious of Uranus when he goes into reverse gear, however. As with other planets, a retrograde Uranus is an influence that is misbehaving somehow. The intuitive mind is still trying to grasp the situation as an entire gestalt, but coming up with some bizarre conclusions instead. People are always telling you to trust your intuitions instead of your thinking mind, but that's not good advice presently. When your gut level instincts are not working properly, it's hard to know what is real or trustworthy anymore -- and there's no über-intuition to fall back on. In extreme cases, this can even disrupt the workings of the nervous system and affect clear perception itself, though a person would have to be "on the edge" already for this to be much of an issue. My best advice for this station is from my favorite bumper sticker -- "Don't believe everything you think!" People tend to confuse the workings of their own mind with reality, assuming that their thoughts and perceptions are a faithful rendition of the outer world. In fact, our grasp of reality is much more tenuous than that. Our view of reality is more a form of constrained hallucination, a creation of our inner life that may or may not mirror the world accurately. Pay attention to those moments where you notice your expectations diverging from "reality", where you can finally see the cracks in the universe. Enjoy the surprises that Uranus brings you, as if to say life is weirder than you can imagine. Don't get too cozy with your stories of how things are. It's rather annoying and frustrating at first, especially when the world starts looking crazy to you, but with practice, the surprises are a lot of fun. Let go of your assumptions and explanations. Making sense of life is a subtle process and there's always some "gotcha" that you haven't considered yet. It's a good year to get this spiritual lesson.

Juno moves from Pisces into Aries on the 2nd. Due to an upcoming retrograde cycle, Juno only gets to 4Ar36 before turning around, eventually reentering Pisces on Sep 14. After resuming direct motion, she will return to Aries one last time on Dec 19 (until 2010-2-23). Juno's long dance back and forth across the Pisces-Aries border has a kind of Jekyll-Hyde feeling to it, as these signs are about as different as you can get. All of this affects our close relationships and feelings of trust, Juno's specialty. There's a tendency to flip between romanticizing relations all out of proportion and giving yourself away to another on the one hand, versus going at the other person with a "what's in it for me?" attitude on the other. At the same time, you may shift between weakness born of excessive empathy and lack of personal boundaries to an overbearing, powerful ego as your approach to relating changes. Obviously, neither extreme is a desirable outcome and there's some point of balance in between that's the real sweet spot. We've got many months to try out all our options and find that balance point, so start experimenting. Just be mindful of how your actions affect your partner. This is a two-way street, you know. And if you're not involved with someone, maybe Juno in Aries will motivate you to get off your butt. This is actually a lighthearted game, not a serious task, so enjoy playing with your partner. Life is meant to be fun.

By the full moon, the storm is breaking up into several competing camps. The Neptune knot, with help from Mars, is still active but fails to dominate the scene like it did several days ago. Another group of planets consists of the Sun, Moon and Saturn, with an assist from Pallas, Ceres and Venus. Mercury and Pluto are lying low. Despite the weak, noisy structure of this chart, it is an eclipse, so it's effects may be rather long lasting. (This eclipse is visible across the US and out over the Pacific. However, the Moon only dips a toe into the lighter part of the earth's shadow, so there's not much to see -- a casual observer wouldn't notice anything.)

There are two separate layers to the energies in this eclipse chart. At the lower level, we're simply trying to make things work smoothly. You don't have to watch too many news programs to notice that the country is in a tailspin and people are hurting. The social systems that support our collective lives (the Jupiter-Saturn kind of bonds) nearly collapsed last fall and are still barely creaking along. It's tough putting the new systems in place and getting them working, not to mention that people's political ADHD means we have little patience for the long resolution. Whenever Saturn is involved, it just takes time. On the upper level, we have Jupiter, Chiron, Uranus and Neptune carrying on a conversation seemingly divorced from what's happening on the ground floor. The perspective here is long term. Humanity is going through a wake up call, a time when we have to realize our actions affect the entire planet. Rather than go on blindly and destroy our home, we need to consciously ask ourselves what kind of world we wish to create and how to do it. This separation is more illusory than real. Practical idealism is a workable path, though it's a hard sale to most people. We need to bring these layers together, making both the short term and long term situation into something beneficial. Humanity needs to grow up...

Jupiter is conjunct (same zodiac position) Neptune on the 10th, the second of 3 contacts. Their first contact was on May 27 and the last one will be Dec 21. A conjunction is both the ending of one planetary cycle and the start of a new one. The previous cycle goes back 13 years to the conjunction of 1997-1-9, a cycle that is closing down. We are also entering a new Jupiter-Neptune cycle as we speak that lasts until 2022. Jupiter and Neptune both have spiritual overtones, though Jupiter is rather mundane and conventional in this regard while Neptune is more of a mystic. But Jupiter is also the way we reach out and interact with the world around us, especially the people we run into each day. Neptune is slowly spiritualizing our daily encounters, bringing a deeper meaning to "ordinary" personal connections. OK, so Aquarius isn't the most empathetic of signs and this is just a good idea for now. Things will change in a year or two when these planets hit Pisces and sacred connections become more commonplace. Start discarding notions that life is "just" this or that, that daily encounters are trivial and random. With practice, life becomes sacred all the time.

Mars shifts from Taurus into Gemini on the 11th. He'll remain in this sign until Aug 25, when he moves into Cancer. You might not think this placement would work out so well, but in a quirky way, it can be quite useful. Mars is a rather physical, on-the-go kind of guy, while Gemini is more lost in thought or conversation, so there seems to be a mismatch here. However, Mars in Gemini seems to motivate the thinking mind to get some "mental work" out of the way. Well, as long as the task is still fun, interesting or "sexy", since there's not much persistence with this placement. You may not like detailed drudge work now, but a task that involves finding patterns and connections within mounds of data might keep you interested. This time is also good for socializing, as it gives you the urge to mingle more than usual. Keep it light and a bit flirtatious, with clever conversation creating a playful setting. The pace is faster than with Taurus, but you'll easily shift gears. Have fun!

On the 17th, humanity experiences the second of 3 contacts for Neptune's return to its discovery degree (25Aq52). Neptune first returned to this position on Apr 11; the final return is 2010-2-7. I've been yacking about this strange astrological event for several months straight now because it strikes me as a unique milestone in humanity's spiritual growth. When Neptune was discovered back in 1846, we were beginning to dismantle the mechanistic world view (wrongly) attributed to Isaac Newton, a world of hard atoms bumping into each other. In its place is a world of spooky connections and entanglements that can't be seen, but that still manage to bridge time and space in a way bumping atoms could never mimic. When anthropomorphized, these connections take on the nature of forces, powers and spirits in the mind's eye. There is no separation anywhere, even between psyche and the physical world, in Neptune's universe. In little, subtle ways, this is a universe of magic. We've stumbled around the last 164 years, slowly trying to figure this out -- the first cycle was our infancy in learning about Neptune. We're already heavily into the next 164 year cycle and Neptune is stepping up the pace of our lessons rapidly. I've found it amazing how life has been peppered with synchronicities and co-incidences the last few months. Talk about or even think about a person or situation and it frequently happens, sometimes within minutes. Not all the time or in earthshaking matters, but just enough to get our attention. We are learning to recognize these hidden connections more clearly and are slowly figuring out how to work at this deeper level, starting with some baby steps. We've got a long ways to go, enough to fill a 164 year cycle. Neptune is patient. We need to live life consciously.

The chart for the total solar eclipse is even more scattered and disorganized than the full moon was. Except that it's a very exact and long eclipse, I'd probably not find much interesting about this chart. The Sun and Moon make a trine to Uranus, the strongest planet. They also widely quincunx the Aquarius planets on one side and Pluto on the other -- just barely a Yod. Otherwise, the chart is broken up into lots of little groups with no overall cohesion. There's not much to go on here. (The path of the eclipse starts in the Nepal region, moves across southern China and then heads out over the southern Pacific.)

As I've often said, eclipses are indicators of necessary changes and overhauls in certain areas of your life, not the omens of doom and gloom that many people expect. It only hurts if you resist the transitions which are ultimately for your own good. With such a potent Uranus, some of these challenges may literally pop up in your face. Try not ot laugh too hard when you see how literal these hints from the universe can be. It's curious how the eclipse aspects the slow-moving, unconscious planets so much and the faster moving, personal planets hardly at all. The shifts going on are deep and mysterious, so far below the surface we can hardly perceive them. It will take months, even years, before these influences play out completely. Be patient with the process, even when you don't know what is happening.

Jupiter is conjunct Chiron for the second of 3 times on the 22nd. Their first contact was on May 23 and they will finish up on Dec 7. Chiron is the last planet in the Neptune knot that we need to discuss. Chiron is frequently a place were one's power is constricted and bottled up, whether by physical restriction or by bowing to public convention ("being normal"). In this aspect, it's Jupiter that is all bound up, your ability to reach out to the world and bring abundance into your life. Maybe it's just the crowd I see, but I'd say that most people have some kind of issue around how blessed with abundance they feel. Now if you throw Neptune and Uranus into the mix, these issues of how much of life's goodies are flowing your way takes on a larger, more cosmic scale. A common mistake is to consider abundance to be only about material pleasures, things you can buy with money, to put it crassly. On Neptune's level, there is much energetic support and nurture that flows through our lives, if we're open. However, until you open up to this higher realm, it doesn't exist for you and is totally blocked off. Chiron is here to slowly guide us through that initiation, helping us see how the universe enfolds us. Life is richer than we can imagine.

Some of the most exciting news stories of June were the elections in Iran and the subsequent demonstrations against the alleged manipulations of the results by the government. As the situation developed, it became an uprising against the institution of the Islamic Republic itself, the basis for religious rule of the country since the 1979 revolution. 30 years ago? It sounded like a Saturn return to me, so I set up a chart for 1979-2-1, the day Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile to Iran and de facto became the new leader.

Yes, we have a Saturn return going on (last fall actually, but Saturn often has a delayed action), but another feature in this chart caught my eye. There's a tight fan of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto every 30 degrees, a remarkable convergence of all the outer planets back in 1978-79. In particular, Uranus and Neptune are forming the last semisextile (30 degrees apart) of the previous 171 year long cycle.

June 10th, 2 days before the Iranian elections, was the first semisextile of these same planets of the new cycle that began in 1993. When you relocate the chart for this aspect to Tehran, a spectacular chart shows up. The Sun is on the Midheaven (directly opposite the 1979 Neptune!), Saturn is rising, Uranus is setting. Evidently, the old revolutionary mood is being stirred up in the popular mind once again, but this time the target of this outrage is the revolutionary government itself. For now, the government has managed to violently put down the demonstrations (or at least contain them), but at the cost of its own legitimacy. The 1979 revolution took about a year to fully develop and I suspect that the current unrest will take a similar time to evolve. Uranus semisextile Neptune is a 10 month long aspect and we are just starting. There's a lot more turmoil for this part of the world in the coming year before things are resolved. I expect that Iran will look much different in a year or two.

Stay tuned...