Low-Down Archives for July 2011

Solar Eclipse in Cancer, Planetary Transits



Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Jul.01, 2011, 4:54 AM EDT

London, UK:

Jul.01, 2011, 9:54 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Jul.01, 2011, 6:54 PM AEST

"What's a Solar Eclipse"

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience CANCER energy in your life.

This partial solar eclipse is visible in only a very small area off the coast of Antarctica.

What's driving you these days? I mean, who or what has their fingers all over your back and is pushing you forward, kicking and screaming if necessary? Kind of gives the phrase "I've got your back" or "I'm right behind you" a whole new spin, doesn't it?

Forward progress is what we often pray for, wish for, aim for and strive for. But when it comes, it can sometimes feel like you're hogtied on a roller coaster as it's rounding the top loop and about to go down the 90� incline!

If we're paying attention at those times, we can catch a glimpse of why we've been stuck back at the gate until now. When we feel blocked, there's usually a reason for it � not necessarily because we're "meant" to stay where we are, but perhaps we're just not ready to move forward yet. The butterfly must wait until its metamorphic process is finished before it's ready to come out of its cocoon, newly formed. Or, we might need to gather the wisdom, courage and fortitude necessary to deal with the growling dog on the other side of that locked door.

And these things take time.

It's not uncommon that you might venture out the door just long enough to realize that there's something out there that's bigger, badder or tougher than you're ready to deal with. So you pull back for a while. Go do your homework. Do the research, gather the information and skills, get the groundwork that will give you an inner (or outer) foundation from which to tackle the beast.

Then, the day comes when that door opens again. Ready or not, here I come. Gird your loins, strap on your armoury of resources and take a step forward. Or, if you're still haunted by a fear that you're not ready yet, you might find some force sweeping you out the door anyway.

Welcome to the Solar Eclipse in Cancer!

Cerberus, three headed dog guarding the gate of the Underworld

As if that wasn't enough, this isn't just any solar eclipse, it's a solar eclipse that forms a Grand Cardinal Cross with the same planets of the Cardinal Cross of 2010. Yikes! Okay, now that growling dog outside the door looks more like Cerberus guarding the Gates of the Underworld that could lead you out of your cocoon and back into daylight again.

That certainly fits, with the Sun-Moon eclipse opposite Pluto and square to Saturn and Uranus. We're nose-to-nose with Pluto, demanding we empower ourselves for intense change. We're flanked by Saturn on one side, demanding we act fairly, effectively and maturely. And on the other side we have Uranus, pushing us to step outside our comfort zone and take a leap off that cliff edge. Anyone rather go hide under the bed until it all blows over? Ya, me too.

However, this is life pushing us back to that door, where you can either gird your loins and step through or be pushed out anyway. One way, you have a chance to be proactive about how you respond to whatever's out there. The other way, you're only likely to be reactive and feeling at the mercy of forces around you.

Mind you, with Jupiter currently sextile Neptune and Chiron and trine Pluto, surrendering to the process might not be a bad thing. However, you'll still probably like the outcome better if you're a conscious participant in that process. And giving away too much of your power to another person or an outside situation, or even the Universe itself, can still get you eaten by that growling 3-headed dog waiting on the other side of the door of opportunity.

Best to go the girded loins route, but how? If you come out swinging a battle axe, you could just be inviting trouble when there wasn't any. Maybe a few dog biscuits and a pat on the head? Nice doggie.

Greek mythology offers some profound insight about how to approach this dilemma. First, some background. The final labour of Heracles (sometimes known as Hercules) was to go down into the Underworld (Hades) to fetch Cerberus and bring him back to the surface. Normally no one survived a trip to Hades, since Cerberus' job was to keep anyone there who came in (died). (As the Eagles' song goes, "you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.") Therefore, Heracles went well prepared, having been initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries which trained him to survive a trip to the Underworld.

So, for Heracles to go there, even well prepared, to ask Hades' (Pluto's) permission to bring Cerberus back with him, was courageous beyond imagining! Hades/Pluto agreed, provided Heracles could overpower Cerberus without using weapons. Heracles did this, enduring a painful battle before finally wrestling the beast into submission. He draped Cerberus around his shoulders and brought him to show King Eurystheus of Mycenae, who had commanded the task, after which Heracles returned Cerberus to his rightful place at the Gate.

The eclipsed Sun/Moon opposite Pluto certainly takes us into the Underworld. That's where you are compelled to face the unknown � or that which you already know (and fear) — and yet, in the process you acquire a more holistic understanding of it by truly facing it. This is the process of facing and ultimately shining light into your Shadow.

Coming back from that deep spelunking into the dark unconscious isn't always easy. It can take hard work to climb back to the surface. It's all too easy to get stuck there or just stay hidden there. You might have to wrestle your urge to give up or stay down there indefinitely. Who knows what you will face out there? At least the darkness has become familiar. The devil you know can seem better than the devil you don't.

Coming back to the light of awareness and "normalcy" can be overwhelming. Like the light that hurts your eyes when you come out of a dark room, returning to the surface requires an adjustment. It takes some getting used to because it's not the same "down there" as "up here"�or is it "down here" as opposed to "up there?" It all depends on which side of the abyss you're on.

Leaving the darkness of a Plutonian journey also means you have to let go of the struggle that may have defined you while you were in there. The loss of innocence and ignorance that greeted you at the entrance to the Underworld, now needs to become the loss of severity and intensity that got you through your time "below." It's a time of rebalancing at all levels.

Natal chart of Oprah Winfrey

Natal Chart of Oprah Winfrey

One rather extreme example of this Pluto process is Oprah Winfrey. The sexual abuse she suffered as a child drove her into a lifestyle of drugs, promiscuity and "acting out" in her early teens. At 14 she became pregnant and the premature baby died shortly after birth. She was sent to live with her father, who was strict but supportive and encouraged her education. In a few years she had turned her life around and began what was to become a stunningly successful career.

Oprah's pregnancy occurred when her solar arc Sun-Venus conjunction came up to oppose her natal 8th house Pluto, which became exact at this powerful turning point in her life. In order to emerge reborn from her traumatic and painful past, she had to let go of the ways she was dealing with it through her dangerous and self-sabotaging lifestyle. She recognized the opportunity she had with her father and embraced it, taking her out of the Underworld and into a life where she could grow and thrive. (Join me on Thursday, June 30, in the Hot & Cool Practice Charts online workshop, where we'll explore more of Oprah's chart and the extraordinary life she continues to lead.)

In 2010, we were all plunged into an Underworld experience with the Cardinal Cross. Collectively we endured the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, whose long term effects are still unknown. Here in Canada, we are still struggling with the abuses of power by the police during the G8/G20 World Summit. This took place on the weekend of June 26, as the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn created a Grand Cross aspect pattern with the already hovering Cardinal Cross pattern.

What's remarkable about this current Solar Eclipse in Cancer is that it too is forming a Grand Cross with most of the planets of the Cardinal Cross of last year. The degrees of these planets have shifted a few degrees, but the aspect pattern is much the same. The Sun-Moon eclipse opposes Pluto, while Saturn opposes Uranus. (Jupiter has moved on.) The orbs aren't as tight as last year either, but the energy will be enough to bring back some of the same essential issues that were active last year.

On a personal level, you might be back in an old situation that was active last year, only now you have the opportunity to deal with it in a different way. Like Oprah having to adjust to a strict but healing environment with her father, you may be faced with a situation that is both a struggle and an opportunity.

Heracles also provides some inspiration for this re-emerging process. He overpowered Cerberus (the part of us that wants to stay hidden in the dark Underworld) with persistence, strength and endurance. He did not kill Cerberus, but merely tamed it. And when it had finished serving his purpose (proving to the King that he had succeeded in his task), he returned Cerberus to the Underworld while he remained in the land of the living.

What has been holding you back? What have you been searching for in your unconscious or your Shadow? What part of yourself or your life are you ready to reclaim as your own and bring it back to integrate with the rest of your life? How does this trace back to last year? For example, did you begin a kind of Herculean labour at that time, and only now are ready to see the more profound results?

Heracles and the astrological Pluto teaches us that although it might require determination, passion and tenacity to tame the force that would hold us back, the gifts that result from that struggle need only rest on our shoulders to be effective. You need only "be with" your power and strength to successfully reach your goal � you don't necessarily need to force the issue, nor do you need to pretend like the experience never happened. Being centered and grounded, wrapped in the knowledge that you have survived your ordeal, carries more power and strength than you might think. It is now your foundation on which you can build something new.

If you are emerging from a deep process of transformation, I can support you in your rebirthing process. I'm available for live readings by phone, as well as my new service "Ask Two Questions". Contact me for more information. 

There are a LOT of new and exciting things happening around Evolving Door Astrology! Be sure to check out my new Readings information page!

Jul.02 – Mercury enters Leo (until Jul.28)

While Mercury struts through Leo, your creativity and self-expression are flying high! Your communication strives to express more than just facts or information – it wants to convey the dramatic energy that tells a story in larger-than-life proportions! How you perceive and experience life right now can be vivid, dramatic and fun, as you pick up more easily on the expressive and "feel-good" elements of what's happening around you. You may become very creative, inspired and motivated during this time. The downside is that it may also easier to indulge in a mindset that is self-serving, egotistical or overconfident. Your motives are likely to be noble, heroic and full of good intentions, but you could also become so in love with your vision of what's possible that you miss valid criticism or drawbacks. This is a time to enjoy the playful delights of sports, games, humor, fun and children.

Jul.02 – Jupiter sextile Chiron (05:12 of Taurus/Pisces)

Wisdom and truth now shine a light on struggle and gloom in your life. By looking beyond your immediate challenges, your far-reaching vision and expanded understanding can lighten the load a bit. This energy may not splash itself across the sky, but is more like a potential you can tap into if you reach out for it. This can also be a time when wisdom and understanding can be gathered from the areas of life that might normally feel difficult or blocked – making lemonade out of the lemons, so to speak.

This is the first of three passes of this transit: Jul.02, Dec.06 and Feb.14.2012.

Jul.02 – Sun square Saturn (10:46 of Cancer/Libra)  (Jul.03 in UK, AU)  (This is a Cardinal Cross aspect)

It is necessary for you to come to grips with limitations, boundaries or expectations. If you have been avoiding some task or obligation, this transit might bring consequences from that avoidance or a warning of consequences to come. You might also encounter a situation that requires you to accept unwanted responsibility or restricts your freedom in some way. You might be faced with some part of your life being pruned back, either to rein in something that is out of control or to make room for new growth. This is likely to be more or less stressful depending on how comfortable you are dealing with responsibility, authority, limits and hard work. If you have a hard time with authority issues, you might find yourself in conflict with someone in authority under this transit – perhaps in part because your buttons are getting pushed. On the other hand, this could also be a time when you are challenged to take action or make a decision that involves taking on more responsibility. It is also a time when you may have to find better ways to deal with personal boundaries – accepting others' or learning to assert your own. You're bumping up against reality, so try to work constructively with it, not hurl yourself against it.

Jul.04 – Venus enters Cancer (until Jul.04)

Your focus in relationships may shift for a while to family, loved ones and people in your support system. You may also find that your interactions with others takes on a quality that echoes the past, perhaps childhood, and you want to reach out to connect with others more than usual – or to avoid it if those echoes are not pleasant ones. You could be especially sensitive to getting your emotional needs met, or how others want their needs to be met. Interactions with others may bring up a deep need to belong and to connect and bond with others on a personal level. The need to feel secure and safe could come up in a variety of forms now – either directly as a feeling of vulnerability, or indirectly disguised as defensiveness or manipulation. This could also a time when you want to be somewhat protective and cautious in your handling of money, possessions and other resources, striving to conserve and cultivate these areas in order to nurture them for future growth.

Jul.04 – Venus trine Neptune (00:40 of Cancer/Pisces)  (Jul.05 in AU)

This can be a time of romance, creativity, and a sense of oneness with the natural beauty of all that exists in the world. On a social or intimate level, things may run smoothly – even a bit magically! So be sure you are clear about what you really want. In terms of finances and material worth, this can be a time of blessings and abundance that could seem to appear out of nowhere. But be careful – it can also be a time of overspending and wondering where the money went! Your natural beauty and warmth shines through now, so it is a good time to peek out from behind any fa�ade of glamour or illusion you might be cloaked in. You are likely to see the very best in others (and they in you), so that negotiation, interaction and attraction can seem to flow effortlessly. This magical attraction energy could also open you up to seeing wonderful qualities in others that may or may not actually be there, so do a reality check with a trusted friend before you make any important choices.

Jul.04 – Mercury trine Uranus (04:33 of Leo/Aries)  (Jul.05 in UK, AU)

Unusual ideas, flashes of insight and seeing unexpected possibilities are all part of this transit. You may find it easier to be open-minded right now, especially about insights that have eluded you. Your ability to see beyond your usual horizon of perception can bring visionary brainwaves, as well as a fun sense of humour. You might be inspired to experiment with something new or do something out of character. You might have an impulse to break free of old habits or constraints. This can be a very liberating transit that opens your mind to new possibilities and ideas. However, be careful that you don't become so liberated and spontaneous that you become erratic, hyper or reckless. Words may come tumbling out of your mouth before you've had a chance to consider their wisdom, or you might find yourself talking non-stop and interrupting, creating a bit of awkwardness in those around you. On the other hand, you might also find the clarity and vision that gives you the words to speak your truth with new conviction. It's a great time to do some writing or other form of self-expression, especially if it's spontaneous or involving technology.

Jul.05 – Mercury square Jupiter (05:41 of Leo/Taurus)  (Jul.06 in AU)

You may be seeing the weak links in your knowledge, understanding or beliefs right now. Your ideas and words might seem to fall short of what your mind envisions, or you might be unable to convince others of your point of view. As a result, it can be tempting to over-compensate with more self-confidence, faith or optimism than you actually have. Or, you might give out "too much information" by over-explaining or through nervous rambling. Alternatively, you might encounter someone else who does this and perhaps have a blaming or judgmental reaction to them. This is an opportunity to learn something about how you might jump to conclusions or blame, possibly triggered by a situation that challenges your beliefs, opinions or perspective. To learn more about this part of yourself, try taking some time to think about what is really bothering you or what you really need to say in that situation. There may be a higher truth to be found if you open your mind to something you're reluctant to acknowledge, rather than looking for a "final truth" around which to close it.

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Jul.06 – Mars trine Saturn (10:53 of Gemini/Libra)

This is a great time for disciplined action that can produce grounded, specific and stable results. If you have a project that needs to push ahead to the next step, you may find this is a good time to do that. If you want to make progress with your ambitions, goals and plans, this can be a good time to make plans or to take action. You are likely to feel "together," capable and strong, giving you a serious, calm and realistic confidence. It's usually easier to control or restrain your more volatile emotions, and present yourself as someone who is stable and on top of things. This transit can bring sustained physical energy that doesn't burn itself out quickly and can pace itself for lasting endurance. Remember that the effects of this transit typically last only about a week or two, so make the most of it!

Jul.07 – Jupiter trine Pluto (05:57 of Taurus/Capricorn)  (Jul.08 in AU)

The quest for freedom, wisdom and truth (Jupiter) now works cooperatively with the cycle of transformation, destruction and renewal (Pluto). The effects of this transit aren't likely to be flashy or perhaps even obvious. However, you now have access to optimism and far-reaching vision that can provide a more positive context to any difficulty you might be having in shedding old baggage, letting go of attachments or simply seeing your life changing at a very deep level. It is also a time when you can bring your understanding and wisdom to shine a light on that deep change, to light a candle in the dark corners of what is unfamiliar or scary.

This is the first of three passes of this transit: Jul.08, Oct.28 and Mar.13.2012.

Jul.07 – Venus square Uranus (04:33 of Cancer/Aries)  (Jul.08 in AU)  (This is a Cardinal Cross aspect)

Under this transit, you may be tempted by impulse spending, or you might be somewhat erratic in your use of resources. This can result in unpredictable or unstable finances, so double check your bank accounts and credit cards before you draw on them. It is also a time when the way you relate to others (or they to you) could be somewhat inconsistent, fickle or impulsive. If your relationships or financial situation have been struggling with difficulties for a while, this transit could bring a lingering problem to the surface and require attention. On one hand, this could be a welcome breath of fresh air that cuts through the complexity of your problems and puts the cards on the table (despite the stress and conflict that likely triggered it). Or, you might feel resistance to making these changes and instead experience this as a time of unwelcome instability, upset and adjustment. However, this may be a good way to break free of excessive restraint, control or structure, which allows new possibilities to emerge that couldn't do so otherwise.

Jul.08 – Venus trine Chiron (05:04 of Cancer/Pisces)

Healing and rebalancing are possible now, especially in the areas of relationships, finance, resources and values. Any problems that have persisted in these areas lately could benefit from an influx of helpful and healing resources now. Relationships and interactions of all kinds can benefit now, since it can be easier to see the beauty and value in others whom you might usually dislike or feel ill at ease with (or they with you). Negotiations and strategic efforts to resolve conflicts may go smoothly now, especially when you balance the results in everyone's interests. You may also be able to attract what you need to heal your wounds (physical, psychological, spiritual, etc.). Like it says in the "Serenity Prayer," you may now find it a bit easier to accept that which you cannot change, while finding you make progress with the things you can.

Jul.08 – Venus opposite Pluto (05:55 of Cancer/Capricorn)  (Jul.09 in UK, AU)  (This is a Cardinal Cross aspect)

Under this transit you could experience great intensity and challenge in your relationships or financial matters. It is a time to delve into the depths of your personal issues that associated with relationships, finances, resources and values. That means being willing to examine the under-the-surface dynamics and hidden patterns that affect these areas of your life. These emerging patterns could indicate a need to come to terms with your "Shadow" – this could include unconscious hidden agendas, secret desires, obsessions or power games. You have an opportunity now to learn more about how you project this "Shadow" onto others through your interactions, expectations, hopes and fears. At its best, this can be a time to transform fear into fortitude and powerlessness into endurance. By being willing to negotiate and work with your fears, feelings of intimidation or efforts to gain empowerment through self-honesty, you have the potential to create a win-win situation.

Jul.09 – Venus sextile Jupiter (06:12 of Cancer/Taurus)

There is an abundance of creative inspiration, material enjoyment, feel-good pleasure in the air! Your luck and opportunity to attract money, love, resources and self-esteem are high right now. It may be relatively easy to attract the people, possessions and opportunities you want or need, but you'll still have to work to get them. On the other hand, your eyes may be bigger than your stomach (as mother would say) and you might be tempted to charm, flirt or bluff your way through a situation more than usual. There may also be a tendency to self-indulgence. These are not necessarily bad things, but it's probably wise to remember to use this energy to enhance your best judgement, not override it.

Jul.09 – Mercury sextile Saturn (11:00 of Leo/Libra)

It can be easier to take a logical, practical approach to problem-solving and decisions now. It's a good time to make plans and work out the logistics of how you're going to get from "here" to "there" in pursuing your ambitions. Or, you may find it's time to bring closure to finished goals, by distilling and systemizing what you've learned in the past several months. This will probably require a bit of effort on your part to make it happen, but the opportunity is there if you choose to take it. This transit can bring mental stability and the ability to apply your mental focus in a practical and grounded way. It may be easier to see things realistically and objectively. Creative energy can become productive and rewarding, if you use it methodically or logically.


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Jul.09 – Uranus stationary Retrograde (04:33 of Aries)  (Jul.10 in UK, AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets. )

Uranus now appears to go backwards (retrograde) against the backdrop of the stars. This is often a turning point in situations involving issues of spontaneity, freedom, breaking free of old patterns, rebellion and expressing your personal uniqueness. It could feel a bit chaotic or erratic�or perhaps just spontaneous and exciting�for up to a week before and after this date. However, Uranus' ultimate agenda is to clear the way for your true spirit to manifest in your life. You may experience unexpected changes, flashes of insight, or disruption of established situations that aren't working well (which might include computers, Internet, mass media, groups, friends or future plans). This can be the awakening of a new perspective, to be brought into a clearer focus through open-mindedness and being willing to try new things. If you are going through major transits from Uranus to your natal chart, you are more likely to feel the energy of this station. To find out if you are going through important Uranus transits this year, and how to find your center in the whirlwind that Uranus tends to bring, you can get a personal astrology reading with me.

Jul.11 – Mercury sextile Mars (14:49 of Leo/Gemini)  (Jul.12 in UK, AU)

There is a potential now to find the courage to speak your mind and say what needs to be said, if you focus consciously on doing so. In fact, your ideas and words may come so quickly and easily that it's hard to stop them from tumbling out of your mouth before you've had a chance to evaluate the best way to say them. Communication is probably easiest and most effective when it's direct, concise and quick, although it might also be a bit blunt or pointed. If you need to confront someone about a difficult situation, this transit can provide courage and clear words to help you do that – although perhaps a bit too forceful when a more delicate, sensitive touch is called for. It is a time when you might find the nerve to take risks, or to defend yourself if the need arises (especially verbally). This is a good transit for creative problem solving and trying on decisions to see if they fit.

Jul.13 – Venus square Saturn (11:11 of Cancer/Libra)  (This is a Cardinal Cross aspect)

Finances, relationships, social contacts and/or pleasures may seem blocked or require extra effort right now. Manifesting your desires may require added hard work, but this struggle could also bring you closer to your goals. It may feel like there is a huge rock blocking your path that keeps you from fulfilling your heart's desire. It may be necessary to face some difficult aspect of your situation before it is possible to know how to proceed. This is ultimately a problem to be solved by confronting that which is unrealistic, unworkable, or just not in your best interest. This can also be a time when you arrive at a crossroads and must make some firm choices, or when circumstances might force you to change your direction. This transit can make your choice clear, although it might not be the one you hoped for.

Jul.15 – Mercury enters the Shadow (18:41 of Leo; until Sep.09)   ("What's the Shadow?"  Read my articles about Retrograde Cycles.  Read my article about Mercury Retrograde.)

Mercury is now "in the Shadow" � the area of Zodiac where it will later go retrograde in about 2� weeks time. During its retrograde cycle, Mercury travels through the same span of the Zodiac three times (called the Shadow). The first time through, it is going in direct motion (moving forward), then retrograde (looks like it's going backwards), and then direct again. This means there is a more extensive process of development and change involved with things that Mercury influences�ideas, thoughts, frame of mind and mental focus. It also concerns the collection, exchange, analysis and organisation of information. All forms of communication are also affected. This includes not just talking, but also email and snail mail, the Internet, the media in general, books and magazines, as well as public transit (buses, trains, etc.) and neighbourhoods. The situations developing over the next couple of weeks (leading up to when Mercury actually goes retrograde) will likely require further research, deeper consideration and adjustments to unexpected discoveries over the next couple of months. Expect changes in your plans, increasingly disrupted communication, and new information coming to light that may not fit conveniently into your plans. It's wise to leave lots of extra time to do things, to plan future projects and get to wherever you're going. Patience is a valuable quality during this time. If you must make important decisions during this time, try to build some flexibility into your plans to allow for later changes�or if possible, you may want to delay final or irrevocable decisions until well after Mercury goes direct.

Information is the name of the game during a Mercury retrograde cycle! If you're a beginner and want an easy to understand what it's about, check out my articles on Retrogrades. If you know your way around a chart fairly well, there are two books I highly recommend on retrogrades in general. One is Erin Sullivan's Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape which is detailed, comprehensive and very in-depth. Everything you ever wanted to know about retrograde cycles and planets! Erin's book is also available in a Kindle edition. Another excellent retrograde book is Joanne Wickenberg's republished and updated Your Hidden Powers: Intercepted Signs and Retrograde Planets, which includes information about interceptions. It too is very comprehensive and detailed about retrograde cycles, including progressions, natal retrograde planets and transiting retrogrades.

Jul.15 – FULL MOON in CAPRICORN (22:27 of Capricorn)


Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Jul.15, 2011, 3:39 AM EDT

London, UK:

Jul.15, 2011, 7:39 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Jul.15, 2011, 4:39 PM AEST

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience CAPRICORN energy in your life.

"Marvin, you saved our lives!"

"I know. Wretched, isn't it?"

~ Marvin the Depressed Robot, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Did you ever read, hear or see the classic sci-fi spoof, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Do you remember Marvin, the depressed robot? He always had such a consistently cynical and dour disposition that it was hilarious. :-)

When I think of an extreme example of the Moon in Capricorn, poor old Marvin comes to mind. He's a caricature, an exaggerated image, but it kind of fits!

The Moon is "in detriment" in Capricorn, meaning it struggles to express its true nature. The Moon is normally sensitive, feeling and delicate � an open and trusting Child of the Universe. It's usually comfortable in�even seeks out�Earthy signs and energy, since Earth can hold and contain the Moon's Watery nature. The Moon is even "exalted" in Taurus, another Earth sign.

However, Capricorn is a bit heavy and serious for the Moon to be completely comfortable. Too many rules and expectations, not enough comfort. People born with a Capricorn Moon can be susceptible to depression or at least to a less than delighted view of life. They're not necessarily cold and stiff, but without something else in their chart to counterbalance it, being warm and fuzzy may not come easily to them.

They've got a wall in China, it's a thousand miles long,
To keep out the foreigners they made it strong,
And I've got a wall around me that you can't even see,
It took a little time to get next to me...
~ Something So Right, Paul Simon

The Moon seeks security. In Capricorn that security is taken very seriously, and while the Moon transits through Capricorn, so do we all. The Moon part of us needs to know what to expect and where the limits are. As a result, that part of us may also have some rather strong expectations of others and be quick to draw boundaries that will keep us safe, in an effort to maintain some order and predictability around us. After all, it's easier to anticipate problems and be ready with solutions when you know what's out there.

For that reason, sometimes it's just easier�and safer�to assume the worst. We tend to believe that it's best to be an optimistic, "glass half full" kind of person. But the "glass half empty" person knows they won't be disappointed if they acknowledge the negative first. If things turn out better, well great, but in the meantime getting one's hopes up can feel perilous and unwise. You won't have far to fall if you're already on the floor.

Capricorn Moon has a very practical way of handling feelings. Feelings can be risky, so Cap finds the best way to manage the risk is to define the baseline. What's the worst that can happen? Okay, now we know how bad it could get. Anything above that is a gift.

Nevertheless, the practical management of feelings doesn't mean the feelings go away. We all have a human need for trust, love, connection and bonding, no matter what sign you are. Currently Venus is in Cancer and widely conjunct the Sun and opposite the Full Moon. This brings the need for love, affection and connection into the equation.

How does Capricorn Moon handle love, affection and connection? Carefully. With disappointment and hurt feelings at stake, who really needs all that embellished euphoric hoopla anyway? Better to take things one grounded, realistic step at a time. That way, at least you know everyone's feelings are what they appear to be and not artificially inflated by romantic fantasy.

This energy is currently distant but approaching, with Venus just entering the orb of the conjunction to the Sun (8:52). She won't catch up to the Sun until Aug.16, so our Cap Moon has lots of time to get acclimatized to the idea of close human connection.

Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.
~ Ayn Rand

The Venus connection might also bring attention to finances and other resources. Venus disposits both Saturn in Libra and Jupiter in Taurus. This suggests the need for a disciplined approach to money or resources. Saturn in Libra wants balance in all things, to ensure that Jupiter doesn't get carried away with the credit card, or at least that Jupiter brings in as much as it's spending. With Venus being in protective Cancer, disposited by that disciplined and practical Capricorn Moon, this may be a good time to devise a better budget or savings strategy.

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Having financial stability can go a long way to bring a feeling of security, but then so can spending on things that will nurture you and support your continuing growth. Which is more important � to reduce spending or to spend more wisely and effectively? It's always a trade-off, this give-and-take dilemma. It's all fine and nice to say "I'm going to be more responsible and disciplined about money," but what will that look like? These qualities tend to take on a different face in different situations.

Capricorn knows that being cost effective is better in the long run than simply saving money in the short run. It's a matter of priorities. What is your greater need right now? Saving time or saving money? You can usually do one but not both. Do you need to support and feed your spirit in order to deal with more practical matters, or do you need to attend to practical matters in order to support and feed your spirit? There's usually no single right answer to these questions, unless your need one way or the other is acute and therefore obvious. It's all a matter of priorities.

Capricorn knows that being cost effective usually involves some kind of compromise. It doesn't have to be either-or. Allow me to use my own services as an example. A personal astrology reading can give you the clarity and focus you need to move forward in your life. But if a full reading is more than your budget can handle, you could opt for a more affordable service (called Ask Two Questions) that gives you some of what you need and can tide you over until you can manage a full reading.

You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves.
Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life.
~ Daisaku Ikeda

Mercury forms a Thor's Hammer (a.k.a. Quadriform) aspect pattern to Uranus and Pluto. Your conscious intentions and words will carry a lot of weight right now, so use them wisely. With Mercury in Leo, a creative approach to challenge, stress and conflict can be more effective than butting one's head against an obstacle. More about this transit below.

What's left of the Cardinal Grand Cross

Speaking of Uranus and Pluto, the Cardinal Grand Cross is starting to fade now. Venus is a bit too far to form a square to Uranus, and is about to move out of orb from her opposition to Pluto. The main T-square of Saturn opposite Uranus, square Pluto, will remain in orb for about another 3-4 weeks, as it slowly dissipates. We're not quite out of the woods quite yet, as we still have the Uranus-Pluto square yet to become exact, which begins next June. But we won't get that much in the way of major aspect patterns to it for a few years. Whew!

In the meantime, we're all still undergoing a deep transformation from the Cardinal Cross. Since Saturn is the planet still holding the Cardinal T-square together, and since it disposits the Capricorn Full Moon, that Cardinal Cross is still very much "front and centre" in our lives. It's time to put the solid building blocks in place that form the changes you are creating in your life. Those building blocks are made from the struggles, challenges, learning and achievements you've accumulated over the last few years.

Your conscious aim is very important right now, since it will direct that accumulated energy to shape and imprint your life in lasting ways over the next month or two. It's important to have a clear focus now. If you're undecided about which way you need to go, or if you need some confirmation that you're on the right track, I'm available for personal readings which can give you some clarity. Contact me about live readings, or you can Ask Two Questions right from the website.

Jul.15-17 – Thor's Hammer aspect pattern (Mercury, Uranus, Pluto)

Thor's Hammer or Quadriform aspect pattern

Mercury in Leo is currently at the apex of a challenging aspect figure with the Uranus-Pluto square. Mercury's sesquiquadrate aspect (135� or one-and-a-half squares) to both of these planets creates a Thor's Hammer configuration (sometimes also called a Quadriform). This can make any decisions (Mercury) feel a bit overwhelming, since the implications are likely to look huge and even disproportionate to the immediate situation.

The truth is, the implications of your choices and decisions are far-reaching under this configuration. Mercury must mediate between the mania for personal freedom at any cost on one side (Uranus in Aries) and a dysfunctional economic, political and environmental landscape on the other (Pluto in Capricorn).

Mercury in confident, dramatic Leo might enjoy the sense of showmanship of the situation, feeling like he's holding the reins of a team of massive Clydesdales. On the other hand, Mercury might also feel like a wee kitten (in Leo, natch) trying to control that same team of horses!

Whatever decisions you're making right now, whatever observations or learning you're gathering, whatever information you're trying to make sense of, and whatever forms of self-expression you're labouring to give birth to�you're dealing with energies that are larger than life. You could benefit from a creative and imaginative approach, but be careful not to let the creativity become an end in itself if what you need in the end is something practical and workable. Of course, if you're looking to produce something creative, then go for it!

The energy of this aspect figure is in orb from Jul.14-18 � not very long! However, since it is in effect at the time of the Full Moon, its implications are likely to stay with us longer. When all is said and done, this aspect pattern gives you a chance to wield a lot of potential with relatively little exertion. Or, put another way, the exertion might feel heavy while you're in it, but you are probably working with more leverage than you realize, so don't underestimate the potential of your efforts. Think of it like turning the wheel of a large ship�the change in direction takes place gradually, even though the immediate action seems insignificant.


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Mercury isn't finished with Uranus and Pluto yet, either! Mercury goes retrograde in August, and when it comes back and stations direct on Aug.26, it is exactly conjunct its position at the Full Moon and forms the Quadriform pattern again. At that time, Mercury will behave like a fireworks rocket, burning a hole in collective Uranus-Pluto wall.

The implication here is that your conscious intent now will set your aim for that rocket to take in late August. You will be able to adjust that aim to some extent at that time, but now is when you can lay the groundwork for whatever will happen at that time. Therefore, avoid the temptation to buckle under the stress or exertion that you may feel now. And if you must cave in under the weight, do so in a way that doesn't ruin the progress you've achieved so far under the Cardinal Cross energy.

The Sun and Venus will also pass through the Quadriform point in mid-August, bringing energy, resources and desire for satisfaction to your quest.

Jul.23 – Sun enters Leo (until Aug.23)

Happy Solar Return to all Leos! Today the Sun moves into its own sign, so its radiant energy is extra bright during this time. Leo's focus is on identity, individuality, self-esteem, creativity, self-expression and fun. You can benefit by rejuvenating, revitalising and rekindling the fiery spirit of who you are. Celebrate your existence! Do something that reminds you about who you are. Recharge your batteries and do things that help you return to the centre of the orbiting circumstances in your life – not spinning around at the edges where you feel at the mercy of everything around you. What are you doing (or what do you want to do) in your life that express the passions that move you? What is the focus of your sense of purpose in life, and what is your next step in moving toward that? If you've been feeling like you're stuck or have lost your sense of purpose, do something that uplifts you. If you could do anything with your life that you wanted to, what would it be? And what one thing (even just a small thing) can you do to take a step toward that goal? Rejuvenate your sense of self and do things that help you to just BE who you are. Hang out with children and watch how they play and are spontaneously free. Find ways to connect to your joyful Inner Child. Celebrate your existence!

Jul.23 – Mars conjunct South Lunar Node (22:47 of Gemini)  (Jul.24 in AU)

This transit's range of influence is roughly 2 weeks before and after this date, although it reaches its peak now. The South Lunar Node is where we let go of, move away from, express or release something. Although the South Node can involve loss of some kind, it can also signify that what had previously been actively in the "foreground" of your life is now moving into the "background" and becoming assimilated as simply one part among many, rather than being a specific focus. Often whatever is being released is something we took in, embraced or began to move toward when Mars passed over the North Lunar Node. The North Node is sometimes known as the Dragon's Head, which eats or consumes. The South Node is known as the Dragon's Tail, which... well you get the idea. ;-) Since this involves Mars, what is being embraced or released likely has to do with anger, aggression, assertiveness or forcefulness. This might also be about sex or physical energy or something being set into motion. Depending on your natal chart, this could also involve the houses Mars rules and resides in, as well as where the current transit is taking place.

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Jul.27 – Sun trine Uranus (04:26 of Leo/Aries)  (Jul.28 in AU)

You are more open than usual to spontaneity, surprises and "flying by the seat of your pants!" Your sense of humour and fun are let loose during this transit, as is your ability to break out of old outworn habits. You may get a flash of insight, a burst of courage or a surge of inspiration under this transit. The spirit of who you are can become released now, possibly leading to you behaving a bit "out of character." It's a great time to try new things and experiment with something that's out of character for you. In fact, it may be surprising how easy it is to break out of your usual routine...so much so, that it's good to be careful not to be too reckless under this transit. If your self-confidence, self-expression or self-esteem have been stifled or dampened lately, these could come flying out rather erratically, carelessly or chaotically. Strive to have fun pushing the envelope without ripping it. ;-)

Jul.28 – Venus enters Leo (until Aug.21)  (Jul.29 in AU)

This can be a very creative time, as Venus' love of beauty combines with Leo's creative flair for the dramatic. Find ways to feel good by making your surroundings and yourself beautiful and reflective of your inner spirit! High fashion and vogue style are "in" and crudeness and ordinariness are out...unless you want to turn them into a fashion statement. ;-) However, it's probably wise not to become so identified with the outer appearance of yourself or others that you lose sight of the person, situation or context that it's all happening in. The aim is to pamper yourself with pleasures that enhance your quality of life, without inflating your ego with synthetic self-esteem and glamour without substance. Relationships, interaction, finances, values and resources all need to include ways to express your identity, valour and "heart." Some light-hearted fun and play can be a good place to start.

Jul.28 – Mercury enters Virgo (until Aug.08)  (Jul.29 in AU)

Mercury moves into its own sign of Virgo, where it brings an awareness of health, healing, work and service. This is a good time to be analytical, methodical and focused on improvement. But be careful not to get so lost in details or perfectionism that you can't see the forest for the trees. This energy is well spent by finding ways to make your work and the pursuit of your goals more efficient and effective. Try organising your activities better and prioritizing them according to what works well and what needs improvement and how. This is especially true for any health issues that keep getting pushed to the back burner. Whatever your plans, this transit can help you organise an effective strategy to move you forward.

Jul.29 – Mercury opposite Neptune (00:10 of Virgo/Pisces)

Inspired thinking, mental fantasy, imaginative ideas and lucid dreams are likely during this transit. This can result in enormous creativity that sees inspiration and magical ideas in the world around you (be sure to write them down to develop later). Your communication may be unusually intuitive and inspiring now. However, it can also be a time when your perceptions about reality are a bit off and coloured by wishful thinking and irrational conclusions. Doing a reality check with a trusted friend or advisor is a good idea, especially if you are trying to make important decisions right now. But be sure to explore any non-rational or irrational thinking, since the veil between the conscious and unconscious mind is thin now and you can learn much by observing your thoughts and perceptions.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in LEO - July 30, 2011.

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