July 2019 Forecast

Venice at night with San Giorgio Maggiore seen from the flooded Piazza San Marco by Jorg Bittner via  Wikimedia Commons

Venice at night with San Giorgio Maggiore seen from the flooded Piazza San Marco by Jorg Bittner via Wikimedia Commons

Welcome to what is probably the most challenging month of 2019. Hopefully June’s previews helped you prepare for July, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re in good company. We made it through last summer’s simultaneous Mars and Mercury retrograde and this winter’s eclipses, and we’ll make it through this eclipse season too. I see the 2018-20 Cancer-Capricorn eclipse cycle as a series of floods and earthquakes—not literal disasters, but major changes that reconfigure the geography of our lives. Floods change the landscape, making lakes where there once was dry land, and necessitating boats where there were parking lots. Earthquakes change the lay of the land too, destroying what is not securely fastened, and requiring us to rebuild.

As I said in the June forecast, what challenges you now will be similar to what you faced in January of this year, when we had our first round of 2019 eclipses. This is the second eclipse cycle of 2019; the next one will start at the end of December. An eclipse cycle represents a cycle of change, and the “crisis” or transformation varies in intensity depending on how it falls in your natal chart. Last month we prepared by cultivating resilience to support ourselves through changes, and listening to our intuition to determine the right strategies.

First, Mars heads into Leo for his solo act on July 1st. Mars in Leo is much more assertive than Mars in Cancer. In this fire sign, the planet of desire and action mostly desires attention—and knows how to get it. Mars here is passionate, ambitious, authoritative, and proud.

We start eclipse season with a total solar eclipse at 10 degrees of Cancer on July 2nd. This one can be seen in its totality from the South Pacific Ocean, Argentina, and Chile. This eclipse makes a wide opposition to Saturn in Capricorn. What lessons of Professor Saturn’s were you reviewing in June? They are coming back in a big way for you now, giving you a chance to clear out old emotional junk and act with more wisdom. The moon also squares Chiron, indicating potential pain, but it’s ultimately healing. New and full moons in Cancer tend to be more emotional, as the moon rules this sign, and eclipses are more intense than the average lunation. The “crisis” faced here is most likely to be about dealing with emotional triggers and releasing pent-up feelings. Emotions flood the body, sometimes taking over, but if we become conscious of our triggers we can pause and change an emotional reaction into a thoughtful response. Shadow work is always appropriate for a total eclipse.

On the 3rd, Venus moves into Cancer. It’s definitely Cancer season right now, and we feel it. Venus here values security. She enjoys beautiful historical items, vintage décor, and indulging in nostalgia. In this sign, she is especially sensitive, sentimental, and nurturing. Given the oppositions she makes to Saturn, the south node, and Pluto in Capricorn later on this month (on the 17th and 23rd), the vulnerability might feel overwhelming. Better that we feel and recognize emotions than ignore them in our relationships though. The empowering side of sensitivity is revealed with Venus in this sign.

Then on the 7th, Mercury stations retrograde for the second time this year. This one starts at 4 degrees of Leo and continues until Mercury stations direct at 24 Cancer on July 31st. I say this every time, and it bears repeating: Mercury stations retrograde 3-4 times a year. There are always other transits happening too, so half the time when people are like “Is Mercury retrograde?” it’s actually something else. While it can be annoying to deal with communication breakdowns in a technology-dependent world, it’s most helpful to view Mercury’s Rx periods as opportunities to rest and reflect.

Now that the PSA is done: since this retrograde comes during an intense eclipse season, it’s likely to be one of the more emotionally challenging retro periods for some. Make space for all of the F E E L I N G S, especially those of you who automatically winced at that word! This Mercury Rx is about revealing the gold, recovering dignity and pride, re-discovering our passions, retracing steps from the past, re-membering, releasing old emotional pain, (mis)communicating with mothers and ancestors, and re-investing in care.

The first thing Mercury does while retrograde is meet with Mars in Leo on July 8th, for a conversation about ambition, attention, and pride. Expect some combustion with this aspect. This is a good day to pay attention to for clues about the rest of the retrograde, since Mercury spends half their time in Leo (and the other half in Cancer). We are recovering our sense of self-worth, a sense of play, some passion, or an old ambition. Remember who you are, Queen!

Because Chiron and Uranus are both situated around 5-6 degrees of Aries and Taurus right now, anything that hits 5-6 degrees of a sign aspects these heavy-hitters. On the 8th, Venus squares Chiron and makes a sextile to Uranus, reminding us of these major shifts that are causing pain, healing, and wild change, and therefore impacting us on an emotional level. On the 11th, Mars squares Uranus and trines Chiron from Leo, intensifying the sudden changes, and reminding us (however loudly) that we have to be authentic to have meaning in our lives. The sun makes the same aspects from Leo at the end of the month (on the 28th and 29th), echoing this call to self-expression in the face of stubborn reactivity.

And we have more Cancer-Capricorn oppositions happening throughout the month, between 17-22 degrees, starting with the sun on the north node, opposite Saturn on the south node on July 9th. Venus makes the same aspect on July 18th. The sun and Venus oppose Pluto on the 14th and 21st, respectively. These recall aspects from June, and echo the ongoing eclipse season lessons. Remember how we’re investigating the shadow side of tradition, figuring out what to keep and what needs to evolve? How have you traditionally been dealing with emotions in your life? Where are they embodied? How can you work with the shadow here?

Both the sun and Venus also make trines to Neptune from Cancer (On July 11th and 18th), offering some oceanic healing to soothe us through all of this back-and-forth. We all come from the mother ocean, and to her we all return. A cosmic perspective can be helpful when shadow work is calling.

Our second eclipse of the month is a partial lunar eclipse at 24.04 Capricorn on July 16th. This one is visible from Australia, Africa, South America, most of Europe and Asia (basically everywhere except North America). The moon is conjunct Pluto, which indicates powerful transformation. When I say transformation, especially where Pluto is involved, I always mean Death card-style undoing and rebirth. One full moon will not affect every single person in such an intense way, but if you have natal planets or points near 24 degrees of Cardinal signs (Cancer, Capricorn, Libra, or Aries), this is likely to matter for you. This is a clearing of detrimental patterns and empowerment through initiation. It can also just mean drama, for/from people who have not been doing the Real Work of self-development in this cycle. Earthquakes shake the foundations and break anything that isn’t already bolted down.

On July 19th, Mercury Rx moves into Cancer, where our focus on thinking and communication shifts from pride and ambition to emotion. We are remembering the past and re-tracing our feelings with Mercury retrograde here. Mercury Rx will meet the sun on the 21st, illuminating some of the lessons from this retrograde. Then Mercury Rx will meet Venus on the 24th, to discuss some old sensitivities around relationships, and the walls that fell with this month’s eclipse series.

The sun enters Leo, sign of his rulership, on July 22nd this year. Leo season officially begins! With the sun here, this sign is even brighter than usual. This heralds the season of vacations, playtime, and fun in the sun. We can start to see the light after an intense couple of months. On the 25th, Mars makes a jubilant trine to Jupiter, enhancing the spotlight on happiness. Mars and Jupiter together can be a little too passionate, but at their best they get big things done. Then on the 27th, Venus enters Leo, where she loves to be loved and to give love. These are warmer transits to turn to after a potentially earth-shaking month. Like a bright dawn after a stormy night, Leo is here to remind you that the sun always rises.

Mercury stations direct on the last day of July, at 24 degrees of Cancer. On the same day, we have a new moon (not an eclipse) at 8.37 Leo. This one is next to Venus and square Uranus in Taurus. The moon and Venus get along well, serving up happy feelings and a fun sense of style, but Uranus in Taurus is disrupting the old to make way for the new, so this sense of style is infused with high-voltage electricity. Remember what you’re re-wilding and set intentions to express it: in relationships, through fashion, and with a strong sense of play. After the floods and earthquakes of eclipse season, this is an awakening moon.

Still in Shadow

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An Aries discovered this week that I’m an astrologer and wanted to know, as people usually do, what was going on with her. Mars had stationed retrograde on Monday, but things hadn’t gotten better yet. I understand where she was coming from, because this week wasn’t stellar for me either. If I didn’t know better, I could have sworn that both Mars and Mercury were still retrograde.

Astrology depends on accurate timing. A chart is a map of a moment, frozen in time. However, the cycles we track--aspects, retrogrades, lunar patterns--are moving, ever-evolving things. Most astrological patterns happen in a gradual way. Which means that while it would be nice to think that Mars retrograde frustration is all patched up instantly the moment Mars stations direct, it will take a little longer than that for you to recover. Charts are similar to photographs, frozen images, but when astrologers analyze charts we’re looking at something more akin to a video, with cycles moving forwards and backwards through time.

I don’t get into shadow periods a lot because I don’t want to make it seem like Mercury retrograde is six weeks longer than it actually is. It’s overhyped enough anyway. The shadow period is the period in which a planet moves (direct) through the degrees of the retrograde. This means that every planetary retrograde is effectively a three-part cycle. The pre-shadow period is a kind of preview of the themes that will come up. The retrograde itself is the main event. The post-shadow period is a time to integrate the lessons of the retrograde.

Think of a car slowing down from 80 miles per hour to a dead stop. That’s the pre-shadow period. The car slows gradually, not instantly. Once the planet stations retrograde, imagine for the sake of this example that the car has come to a full stop. Time to just sit, reflect and enjoy the scenery. When the planet stations direct, the car begins speeding up again. But it doesn’t go from 0 to 80 immediately. It happens gradually, over a short period of time. That’s your post-shadow period.

Your Mars car is revving up again, but you’ll have to give it a little time before it’s going full speed towards your desires. Mercury is out of shadow on September 2nd. Mars will officially be out of shadow on October 8th. In my experience, it’s the first few days after an inner planet stations direct that require your continued patience. The rest of the shadow period should be less intense. Don’t worry; your car will start moving faster!

As with everything in life, astrology has no silver bullets, and no instantaneous rewards. Astrology only allows us to see and work with continuous cycles. Expect that we will always be participating in a series of cycles, because the only constant here is change.

Partial Solar Eclipse in Leo: Recovery

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This partial solar eclipse is at 18.41 Leo on August 11 at 5:57 am

It's the second-to-last eclipse in our Leo-Aquarius eclipse cycle. The last one will be a total lunar eclipse in Leo on January 21, 2019. Normally, I would say that the new moon is a time for setting intentions that you can act on once the moon begins waxing. This one is a little different, though, because the solar eclipse happens to be next to Mercury retrograde in Leo at a time when nearly everything else is retrograde, too. The moon and Mercury Rx are also squaring Jupiter in Scorpio.

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Since October 2017, Jupiter in Scorpio has been solving mysteries and uncovering long-buried secrets. We've all been in a collective process of recovery: uncovering "open secrets" about patterns of sexual harassment and abuse, recovering from abuses of power, and resisting the secrecy of those who want to bury the truth. In your own private life you may be recovering hidden memories and truths, or undergoing a kind of initiation by Jupiter into knowledge of the mysterious. This solar eclipse is very much about this kind of recovery: a recovery of self.

The Leo-Aquarius eclipse cycle has been about allowing yourself and others to shine individually while creating a collective vision for the future. All of the axes of signs are described with a set of balanced or paradoxical archetypes. The two signs complement each other. Leo and Aquarius are along the axis of individual and community. When an individual dares to be different, shining brightly, he or she will almost always create a community of people who appreciate that individuality, and together they develop a shared vision. Having the courage to stand alone, paradoxically, brings us together.

With Mercury retrograde in Leo squaring Jupiter right now, you are uncovering something important about yourself. It may be some special weirdness that you've hidden from the rest of the world in an act of self-preservation, or a latent talent you almost forgot that you had. You might decide to free yourself from a secret that you're tired of keeping to protect someone else's reputation. You might remember something that was once repressed, or find something you once lost. This eclipse has an element of memoir to it. You are declaring ownership of your story and re-telling it in your own words.

I find it metaphorically resonant that this eclipse happened at dawn, just as the sun was coming up over the horizon. Discovery can happen like daybreak: a shadow passes over and the light returns, and nothing is ever the same again. Internally, you are reflecting on the changes that have occurred throughout this eclipse cycle since February 2017. You have recovered something about yourself, and you're getting ready to share that with the people who recognize your true belonging.

Image Credit: 20,000 Leagues under th thingy by Pete Amachree