The Low-Down on the Far-Out

Full Moon in Capricorn, June 2018

Chart for the Full Moon in Capricorn
Chart for the Full Moon in Capricorn

Live a life of friction. Let yourself be disturbed
as much as possible, but observe.
~ G.I. Gurdjieff

Jun.28 – FULL MOON in CAPRICORN (06:28 of Capricorn)

If there is a planetary theme for this Full Moon in Capricorn, it is Mars-Saturn. Saturn is obvious, since it rules the Full Moon sign. It also happens to be conjunct the Moon.

Although Mars isn't a major player in the Full Moon chart by aspect, it has a very loud voice in the conversation for other reasons. Mars and Saturn also interact in significant ways.

Too general? The first lesson from Capricorn is: Be patient. I'll spell out all the details below. ;-)

Let's start with this: Mars and Saturn get along like a rebellious teenager and a stern parent. They don't entirely "get" each other and each kind of stands for what the other is trying not to do. Not exactly the easiest alliance when they have to work together. So, let's explore both of them in the chart and see what kind of energy they—we—can co-create.

Despite Mars' insistence on being first in everything, we'll start with Saturn. ;-)

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are,
far more than our abilities.
~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Saturn is the planetary ruler of Capricorn, so he rules the Full Moon and has executive privilege over its energy. Saturn is also in Capricorn, so we have a double dose of all things Cap: discipline, maturity, order, structure, authority, planning and gradual development.

This Capricorn Full Moon in general says: don't expect anything to happen quickly but do expect that whatever your actions are, they are bound to have a substantial impact. Saturn and Capricorn are all about manifestation – initiating it, committing to it, developing it, changing it and ending it.

In order to manifest something, you need to be in control of the process—in some way, to some degree. When you own your Saturn, for best results you should be like the conductor of your orchestra, the CEO of your corporation, or the leader of your governing party. Saturn is the authority, the decision-maker, the one who gets to have the final word.

We all encounter the Saturn energy in our lives when we go through Saturn Return, when Saturn returns to where it was when you were born, which happens approximately at ages 29, 58 and 87. These are times when we need to make critical decisions about what we will do with our lives for the next 29 years, and choices we make at those times have a huge impact on where our life path takes us.

Whenever we cross Saturn's path—when Saturn does something significant in the skies, and especially when he interacts with our natal chart—there are usually decisions and commitments that must be made. So: What issue have you been putting off, hoping it will go away and become a non-issue (but hasn't)? What have you been holding onto that no longer serves you well? What are you reluctant to let go of that is actually interfering with your ability to move forward? And what do you need to build or develop in your life that will take time, commitment, effort and planning?

When our commitment is wavering, the best way to stay on track is to consider the progress we've already made. As we recognize what we've invested and attained, it seems like a waste to give up, and our confidence and commitment surge.
~ Adam M. Grant, Originals:
How Non-Conformists Move the World

Saturn is tightly conjunct the Moon, so some of this Full Moon could revolve around growing up and taking another step in the maturation process. The Moon represents your Inner Child, the part of you that just wants to be loved and comforted and protected. Saturn can provide that boundary of protection, but it's not exactly a warm and fuzzy nest inside its walls. As a result, your response to this Capricorn Moon may be to feel a bit lonely, isolated, restricted, discouraged or uninspired.

On the other hand, Saturn-Moon can be a great energy if you need a big of a kick in the pants to get serious about something you want to accomplish. Your Inner Child might feel a bit like you're stuck at the dinner table until you eat your [insert vegetable you can't stand].

The good thing about Saturn is that if you can get through the yucky [vegetable], there will be dessert afterwards. If you do the work effectively, there is a reward at the other end of the process. It my or may not be the maximum benefit you're hoping for, but you will be able to move forward in some way. The worst case scenario is in a quote attributed to Thomas Edison: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

Saturn is also opposite the Sun, when it passes the half-way point of its retrograde cycle. Astrologers Adam Gainsburg and Gary Caton have called this the Midnight Star – when an outer planet opposes the Sun. Saturn in this position is powerful and highly visible (both visually and figuratively), being at its fastest (while retrograde) and brightest, and its closest proximity to the Earth.

This brings a transcendent quality to Saturn, where its energy seems to reach beyond the current reality toward another (Gainsburg, 2016 webinar). Saturn can bring experiences or events that initially seem uninvited or unexpected, as if they originate from outside yourself or are forced on you, and yet can transport you to something that is beneficial, helpful, rewarding or clarifying. In particular, Saturn-Sun opposition can shift your relationship with limitations and boundaries, one way or another.

No, no! The adventures first,
explanations take such a dreadful time.
~ Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Mars, on the other hand, is still weeks away from his own Sun opposition (Jul.27). Mars just turned retrograde (Jun.26), so his energy is still powerful and concentrated. Mars is still only at 3% of his average speed and therefore still radiating that "stationary" intensity and heat—kind of like moving your finger very slowly through a candle flame. (Yikes!)

It's not uncommon, while stationary (give or take up to a week before and after the station: Jun.26 in this case), that our Mars hurts. We may be more impatient, irritable or grouchy than usual. Our temper seems to burn on a shorter fuse, and reactions can be sharper, edgier and more raw than usual. News about others losing control of their Mars (violence, conflict, antagonism, cruelty, bullying) may stir up our own agitation and make it harder to stay centered and grounded in our own lives.

At the same time, Mars can also be a powerful force for good, and when Mars grabs our attention (like when stationary) we could feel extra motivated, driven, excitable and mobilized. Finding a constructive outlet for that Mars energy can produce potent results. For example: physical activity to blow off steam or get into better shape; moving forward in a project or making progress with an intention; focusing into the hidden reasons that drive problematic behaviour and actions, etc.

Mars is currently in rebellious, visionary, innovative Aquarius. These qualities tend to be "in the eye of the beholder," in the sense that one person's righteous rebellion is another person's reactionary destruction. Vision and innovation can be exciting and inviting, but to someone else could disrupt their stability in upsetting ways.

Knowing when and how to change course is important to success. Self-doubt is a lighthouse that will keep you from running aground. Don't become shipwrecked on the rocks of time. Be willing to rethink your decisions and change course.
~ Harley King

Mars is making a U-turn into retrograde territory, so our view of what is righteous versus reactionary could be under review over the next 9 weeks. This is a good time to seek more information that can help us form a clearer understanding of what is at stake. For example, eagerness to make change may actually hide a secret motive to run away from dealing with the struggles of what is . Alternatively, being dedicated to maintaining the status quo might be driven by fear of losing certain advantages if the situation changed.

Exploring these underlying motives isn't about judging them as right or wrong, so much as being able to make choices that are consistent with your values and integrity. In other words, it enables you to choose how to respond from the best person you can be, instead of being driven by unconscious compulsions.

Mars energy when retrograde tends to expand or contract. Like the winds of a hurricane, agitation, frustration, aggression and other ways of acting out can become amplified or intensified. Triggering situations may feel closer and your skin seem thinner than usual, making it harder to keep your reactions contained within socially acceptable limits.

On the other hand, Mars retrograde could also be like the eye of the hurricane. When there is a lot of conflict and turmoil, the retrograde phase can be relatively and eerily calm. In this case, those involved may retreat in order to reconsider the situation. Or, you might need to regroup and realign your resources before your next attempt to make the world a better place. When Mars goes direct again (Aug.27, in this case) you have the chance to apply that energy in new ways.

In addition to going retrograde, Mars will soon be Out of Bounds from Jul.07 to Sep.24. This may amplify the effects of Mars retrograde motion as well as the aspects he makes during that time period. The graph below shows Mars' declination line venturing beyond the red OOB line. See Jul.07 below for more about Mars being OOB.

You cannot talk about grit. You have to embody it.
You cannot talk about faith. You have to live it.
You cannot talk about the desert. You have to cross it.
~ Dragos Bratasanu, The Pursuit of Dreams: Claim Your Power, Follow Your Heart, and Fulfill Your Destiny

Aquarius wants to change the world. So does every sign, in its own way, but Aquarius in particular wants to speak to the future. A different future requires, to some degree, that the present be dismantled, unravelled or even smashed if there is no other way to make room for what is to come.

And smashing sure sounds like a LOT of fun to our Mars in Aquarius! Your initial experience of Mars retrograde might be to impulsively demolish anything that looks like an obstacle in your way. Impetuous Mars has a hard time seeing beyond Now long enough to patiently wait for changes to develop and unfold. No time like the present, says Mars; just do what needs to be done and get on with it!

However, Saturn steps in and cautions Mars to be a bit more disciplined and measured about how he spends his time. For one thing, Saturn is the traditional planetary ruler of Aquarius, so Saturn has some sway over how Mars gets to act out Aquarian energy. And Saturn is in his Capricorn mode, so impetuous reaction is far from the top of his playlist.

In addition, Mars and Saturn are tightly parallel by declination (a mere 7 minutes of declination arc apart). The parallel opens up a line of communication, even though they're not connected by aspect (unless you count an Undecile aspect: 32°43'37'' – no no, we're not going to go there...). The Mars-Saturn parallel reached exact just hours before Mars officially turned retrograde, so the impression of Saturn's hand on the scruff of Mars' neck is likely to be felt throughout the Mars retrograde cycle. Mars comes back and meets Saturn in parallel again on Sep.29, which happens after Mars has gone direct and about a week before leaving the retrograde Shadow.

Declination of Mars, Saturn and Pluto
Declination Parallels of Mars, Saturn and Pluto in 2018.
Red line (Capricorn symbol) shows where Mars goes Out of Bounds.

Mars weaves in and out of Saturn's and Pluto's declination paths through most of 2018, which brings together 3 of the most intense planetary energies in the solar system. Has it been an intense year so far? Events in the global collective have certainly reflected Mars' volatile conflict, Saturn's authority issues and Pluto's power struggles.

Be not the slave of your own past - plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

In addition, Saturn and Pluto have been dancing together in parallel since the end of 2015 and continue until the end of 2019. Add the fact that Pluto is also in Saturn's sign and it's small wonder that our world is currently going through a long-term struggle.

Declination of Saturn and Pluto
Declination Parallels of Saturn and Pluto, 2014 to 2022

What does authority really mean? Is it just rules and laws and boundaries? Or does it—should it—reflect a deeper level of dedication or commitment to a collective ideal? Is there more or less freedom when everyone complies with the same expectations?

Consistency can smooth out a bumpy road when it is adopted willingly and passionately. On the other hand, grudging compliance can make the road sharply jagged and distressingly ineffective if it goes against one's priorities, values, ideals or needs. Where does one stop and the other start?

Is it even possible to formulate a healthy consistency out of resentful compliance? How do we generate consensus out of a fragmented society at odds with itself? There are no easy answers to these questions, and processing the possibilities is a long-term process that takes time.

It is a blessed provision of nature that at times like these, as soon as a man's mercury has got down to a certain point there comes a revulsion, and he rallies. Hope springs up, and cheerfulness along with it, and then he is in good shape to do something for himself, if anything can be done.
~ Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

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The Full Moon in Capricorn as well as the Mars-Saturn interactions bring an opportunity to work with, work on and work through some of these Saturn-Pluto issues. Mars is particularly strong right now from being stationary and retrograde, as well as going Out of Bounds in about a week. And on top of this, the next lunation will be the Solar Eclipse in Cancer (Jul.12).

Suffice to say this cauldron of volatile energies is likely to bring a lot of intensity over the next few months. No, it isn't going to be all bad, but it's unlikely to be all good either. The Full Moon in Capricorn is a time to make a list of projects, intentions and goals that could benefit from channelling some of that potent Mars-Saturn-Pluto energy in a positive direction. This is also a good time to think of ways you can find stability and clarity when your path becomes a rocky road filled with obstacles, chasms, cliff edges, overwhelming overgrowth and tricky crossroads.

We're heading into rugged planetary country over the next few months. Life is bound to get a little more "interesting" than usual. This is the time to fill your backpack with tools, stock up on resources, pick a challenging yet rewarding destination, and find some useful maps to help you chart your course. Then, buckle up! This could be a bit of a wild ride!

This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.
~ Susan Polis Schutz

Jun.27 – Sun opposite Saturn (05:51 of Cancer/Capricorn)

(Repeated for this update.) You may be obligated to fulfil the expectations of others or of society under this transit. A situation or project (which may have begun around 6 months ago) might require that you start to implement the plans and preparation you've been building. Or you might find that problems you've been putting off must now be dealt with. Although you could experience this as stressful or heavy, it can also be a time when you are finally able to move ahead with a project or goal. All commitment requires some degree of limitation and pruning back, since we must choose one path and leave other options behind. This may therefore feel like a time when you are pressured by obligation, necessity or restraint...or it could feel like the rehearsals are finally over and it's time to launch the rocket. If it seems like you're only seeing blocks or obstacles in your way, this might be a reflection of not having done enough preparation (in which case you will need to draw on your experience to solve the problems or deal with the reality in front of you). This can be a time when you reap whatever you have sown in the past (especially the last 6 months), so if your current situation seems negative or punitive, it might be a time when you need to look back over your actions that lead to this and be accountable for past actions and decisions. Whether you are taking the final step to implement your plans or are facing the results of poor past judgment, this can be a time when you are called upon to move forward in your personal growth and maturation. Use it to strengthen your responsibility (response-ability), and don't let fears of inadequacy erode your self-esteem.

Jun.29 – Mercury enters Leo (until Sep.05)  (Jun.28 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT)

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.

Mercury is in Leo for almost 10 weeks! The reason for this unusually long strut through Leo is because Mercury will go retrograde from July 26 to August 19. This gives an opportunity to delve into a deeper level of the Mercury-in-Leo energy – your creativity, self-esteem, mental self-talk, self-expression and how you perceive others in the ways they express themselves. More about this as the retrograde cycle draws closer.

Jun.30 – Mercury square Uranus (01:58 of Leo/Taurus)

Flashes of insight can show you new clarity but you might not like the answers you get, since they could disturb your logical perception of what's what. You might get some news or learn come information that shakes you up in some way. This isn't necessarily bad, since this may be necessary to open your mind to something you've been resisting. There's a Higher Truth here that wants to be told (by you or to you), but the way it's phrased can make a big difference in the reaction. There is a risk of "shooting off your mouth before your brains are loaded," as the saying goes, and impulsive or reckless communication and ideas could create more problems than they solve. It will probably help to listen inside yourself first to discover what you really need to say, and then figure out how to say it in a way that doesn't cause unnecessary damage. Strive to shine a light of truth without blinding anyone with it.

Jun.30 – Mercury trine Chiron (02:24 of Leo/Aries)  (Jul.01 in AU)

Your mental focus and communication now get an injection of healing energy. Cynicism and depression may soften now, as you become more receptive to a more optimistic viewpoint. If you have been caught up in escapism or "stinkin' thinkin'" (thinking you're more in control of your impulses than you really are), you may now find some relief and healing. Mental argument and critical "self-talk" can now find some reconciliation and acceptance that brings some peace of mind. You have increased ability to find the right words and understanding to help others with their problems. Compassion and empathy may be more accessible because you can identify your own experiences with what you see in others. You might also find someone who can give you good advice or support about your own problems – possibly a teacher or mentor – or you could become this to someone else.

Jul.02-13 – Grand Trine in Water (9-19° Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces)

Grand Trine - Jupiter, Neptune, Sun

This is the third incarnation of the Grand Trine in Water signs involving Jupiter in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces. The previous two were May.27-Jun.06 (with Venus) and Jun.17-22 (with Mercury). This time, the Sun in Cancer completes the triangle from July 2-11, and closest from July 5-8. The Solar Eclipse on July 12 will catch the last wisps of the Grand Trine energy as it fades.

As with the other Grand Trines, this is about combining ideals, beliefs, creativity and optimism. With the Sun participating in this one, the impact is on our sense of self. What does your self-image say about you? This is a chance to polish up your self-esteem and let your inner glow shine out. Find ways to flash your best qualities out into the world, or maybe just beam them into your self-awareness.

Jul.03 – Mercury conjunct North Lunar Node (dd:mm of Leo)  (Jul.02 in HAST)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Ideas are in focus, especially when they're shared with others. It could be a time when you observe or notice something new, giving you a new perspective that you will mull over for the coming several months. Or you might be called upon to give a talk or presentation that shares information with others. It might be an especially active time with emails, Facebook, Twitter or texting. Communication and collection of thoughts and ideas is the central theme here. Keep your eyes, mind and curiosity open – the world could be showing you something important and fascinating!

Jul.05 – Chiron Stationary Retrograde (02:25 of Aries; until Dec.09)  (Jul.04 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT, CDT)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

The retrograde station can be felt for up to a week before and after this date. Since Chiron is often about health, you may find health issues coming to the foreground now. General issues about wounding, healing and hurt—physically, psychologically and/or spiritually—may come to a turning point now, making it necessary to take some time for healing, reconstruction, and reconciliation of the energies that are out of balance in your life. The retrograde station (now) begins this process, which gradually unfolds over the next 5 months. Focus your energies on acknowledging the areas that need healing in your life—literally or figuratively. Don't forget that although there are areas that still need healing, you have made progress on much of this in the past. It's important to balance your acknowledgement of the work yet to be done with recognition of what you have already achieved in the past.

Jul.05 – Sun trine Jupiter (13:23 of Cancer/Scorpio)  (Jul.06 in AU)

This is a time when your understanding of the Big Picture and your place within it can click into place. As a result, your confidence and self-esteem can be quite high right now. Your ability to see opportunities and possibilities more clearly can produce an experience of being "lucky." Your insight into life and the world around you may be especially bright, optimistic and inspired. This is a "feel-good" transit, when your sense of self can seem to expand and become free. You may feel especially connected to spiritual energy during this time, finding new meaning in your live and the events that unfold around you. Self-confidence can run high now, and you could feel inspired to fight for justice or some cause. At the same time, there is a chance that all this self-assurance and "knowing" could go overboard into over-confidence, dogmatism or over-indulgence if it's not grounded in realism and humility. Just use your best judgment and enjoy this warm, shining energy!

Jul.05 – Mercury opposite Mars (08:45 of Cancer/Capricorn)

Fiery speech, argument, hot debate and impatience characterise this transit. You may encounter conflicts of interest with others and want to solve them NOW, but in your haste to find a quick fix, you could create more problems than you solve. On the other hand, it can be a time of sudden or impulsive decisions, as well as taking action on ideas you've been mulling over for a while. There is a strong tendency to say what's on your mind ...perhaps more abruptly or harshly than is wise, which could result in argument, overreaction and hurt feelings. Although argument can clear the air and be healing, it can also wound those involved and create ill will that lasts far beyond the original problem. This energy is potentially powerful, yet volatile. It can be used to pump up your motivational fire ...or to explode in hurtful anger. It is like a race horse that can achieve great things when carefully paced, but can be dangerous if allowed to run out of control.


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Jul.07 – Mercury enters the Shadow (11:31 of Leo; until Sep.02)  (Jul.08 in AU)   ("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 2½ 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.

Here are the key dates of this Mercury cycle (for North American Eastern Time):

Jul.07 – Mars goes Out of Bounds (08:28 Aquarius; OOB until Sep.24)  (Jul08 in AU)   ("What does Out of Bounds mean?"   "What is Declination?")

Mars goes Out of Bounds (OOB) for about 11 weeks. During that time you have the opportunity to encounter new experiences related to courage, aggression or taking action. For example, you might let yourself be inspired to champion a cause, or you might decide that now is the time to do something you've been hesitating about for a while and were just waiting for the right moment.

There is always the less constructive side of Mars to watch for, as well. For instance, bold action could become reckless if it's not balanced with wisdom, realistic expectations and awareness of the consequences that you might have to live with afterwards. Anger and frustration could flare up more easily or intensely than usual, which is probably best expressed in constructive ways that don't leave ashes and ruins behind you.

Your instincts could be finely tuned during this time, picking up on distant or subtle signals and relaying these to your impulses which result in doing things without a lot of conscious forethought. This can feel exciting or energizing, but remember that you will still have to live with the results, so if you find this is creating problems it might be best to slow things down a bit so you can consider your best course of action before actually doing it.

It's also possible that during this time you won't notice much at all. Not everyone is attuned to the OOB Mars energy, although you still might observe it in others around you. Or, your experience of this Mars energy might be a quieter signal that you need to focus on more carefully to get a clear sense of it.

This particular OOB Mars period is unusual, in that it is coupled with Mars already being Retrograde when it goes out of bounds. When Mars turns Direct (Aug.27) he is still OOB, and finally returns In-Bounds a couple of weeks before Mars leaves the Shadow. With Mars both retrograde and OOB, the usual Mars effects are likely to be a bit wilder and woollier than usual! In fact, Mars will be both retrograde and OOB from Jul.07 to Aug.27, and its energy will most definitely not be business-as-usual particularly during that time.

As a result, you may find it's a perfect opportunity to explore, develop and experiment with new and better ways to manage and channel your Mars energy. That includes the more intense side—anger, frustration, aggression, forcefulness and even depression—as well as the constructive side of Mars—courage, assertiveness, taking action, and your physical and mental energy levels.

Here are some important dates throughout the overlapping retrograde and OOB Mars periods:

Jul.08 – Sun trine Neptune (16:23 of Cancer/Pisces)  (Jul.09 in AU)

Faith in the bountiful blessings of the Universe is within reach under this transit...but then, so is the fantasy that you will be magically granted anything you wish for. Hope, optimism and imagination spring eternal right now, which can bring some relief from any depression or discouragement you might be feeling. Your creativity can become very inspired under this transit. Your sense of self could also get an infusion of uplifting vision. And you experience a sense of mission, feeling that you are truly a Child of the Universe. There is potential to lift you out of the ordinary and into the sublime – spiritually, creatively, romantically or compassionately. Enjoy it while it lasts, but before you make changes based on what might feel like a permanent condition, remember that this is mostly a temporary influence and you will still have to live within the bounds of the physical world after it passes. Don't make overly optimistic promises now, that you will have to fulfil later when the euphoria wears off.

Jul.09 – Mercury D square Jupiter (13:20 of Leo/Scorpio)  (Jul.08 in HAST)

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.

This is the first of 3 passes of this transit, made possible by Mercury's upcoming retrograde cycle: Jul.09, Aug.11 and Aug.28. You have 2 months to explore and discover a deeper understanding of how the Mercury-Jupiter tension challenge and teach you.

Jul.09 – Venus enters Virgo (until Aut.06)  (Jul.10 in NDT, UK, AU)

Under this transit, it is possible to fall in love with purity, precision and analysis. It is a time to invest in health, efficiency, and your contribution to the world around you. The beauty is in the details, as you embrace a labour of love in your life. Just don't get so enamoured with pristine splendour that you get lost in perfectionism and unable to accept the natural imperfection that exists in all life and humanity. Each of us is the Universe's perfect child, but we are also in a state of becoming and growing and are therefore likely to make human mistakes. Remember that we're here for the journey, as much as the destination. This part of the journey takes us into service and devotion, whether that is focused on another person or on ourselves.

Jul.10 – Jupiter Stationary Direct (13:20 of Scorpio; until Apr.10.2019)   (Jul.11 in AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

For up to a week before and after this date, you may feel a surge of idealism, inspiration and confidence. A quest for knowledge, truth, optimism and faith could become a beacon of energy in your life. On the other hand Jupiter could also bring an increase of judgement, blame and elitism. Jupiter has been retrograde for about 4 months. It is now changing direction again and resuming its normal direct motion.

You may have been exploring and developing the deeper qualities of spirituality, beliefs, confidence, knowledge, faith and/or optimism during that time. Or you might have found ways to expand your horizons—directly through travel or indirectly through the study of other cultures and languages. For the next 3 months (as Jupiter retraces its steps through the Shadow), you can start to apply and integrate what you've learned over the past 4 months. For example, if you have been taking a course or exploring your religious beliefs, this might be a time when you are able to put your discoveries into practice or place them into your worldview.

This turning point may be uplifting, overwhelming, inspiring and/or illuminating. You could discover new meaning in areas of life that had become stale or worn out, or you might realise that your old ways of understanding don't work for you anymore and need to be let go. Whatever you've learned or gained over the last 4 months, it is now available to be expressed and used more openly and directly in your life.

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Jul.11 – Venus trine Uranus (02:16 of Virgo/Taurus)   (Jul.12 in ADT, NDT, UK, AU)

Spontaneity and liberation burst into your relationships, finances, resources and pleasures. You might feel compelled to try something completely different that shakes up the "same-old-same-old" routines you're used to. The upside is that you have the opportunity to break free of some old habits and breathe some fresh air into your life. But the downside could come in the form of impulse spending beyond your budget, or recklessness in your interactions and relationships. Strive to break free of what holds you back from being your true self, without destroying the structure of order in your life.

Jul.12 – Sun opposite Pluto (20:01 of Cancer/Capricorn)

Who owns the power? This is a time when you may be called upon to stand up to a situation or person who pressures you to dance to their tune instead of your own. This is a chance to assert and empower yourself in new ways, putting into practice the inner strength you've developed in the last 6 months. The trick is to face the situation or person while rooted in inner honesty and authenticity, rather than trying to annihilate the enemy using overkill. Strive to negotiate (or struggle) together using just enough force to establish a workable balance of power, without either of you being nuked in the process. Also, be open to the possibility that your "opponent" might be holding up a mirror, which is showing you something about yourself that you may not want to acknowledge. That doesn't necessarily make your opponent right and you wrong, but there might be something for you to learn from the situation. If you are in a situation that doesn't involve an "opponent" as such, there may still be an aspect of your environment that is holding up a difficult mirror, requiring you to find a more centred and authentic point of inner power. It is by finding new balance within this kind of dynamic, whatever the circumstances, that transformation can be found.

Next Update:  SOLAR ECLIPSE ~ NEW MOON in CANCER. Available by July 12, 2018.

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