July is a complex month, with a total solar eclipse, a partial lunar eclipse, Mars in debilitation and conjunct a retrograde Mercury, as we continue to experience the Saturn - south node conjunction. Although the Saturn - south node conjunction is an ongoing influence until October - and until Saturn leaves Sagittarius in January 2020 - their exact conjunction during July's eclipses offers up more opportunities for change. This poses some challenges, of course, as the internal conflict gets us to change things we must. Easy transits, although enjoyable, do not create the kind of intensity bigger change requires. During enjoyable transits, we just want things to continue the way they are.
Astrologers tend to focus on challenges more, because, well, you already know what is working well in your life. I'm sure would rather not be told when it comes to an end! When we speak of challenging transits, the first and foremost thing you hear is the timing. When we experience stress, we want to know how to handle it, of course, but what you really want to know is when it will end. This is why we harp on about the 'malefic' planets; Saturn, Mars and the nodes.
The new Moon and total solar eclipse on July 2 begins a period of a few weeks that will feel unsettling and upsetting for many. Venus is not helping as much as it was in June, leaving behind steady Taurus as it joins the eclipse in the excitable Gemini. Jupiter, although not involved in the eclipse directly, continues to transit Mars' sign, as Mars continues to transit its sign of debilitation (Cancer). This helps us deal with the emotional frustration as we develop a philosophical approach to the required adjustments. Mars transits alongside Mercury in Cancer which is retrograde from July 9 - 30, keeping these two close together for a longer-than-usual period. Mercury and Mars do not like to be so close, as one is about talking the talk (Mercury), while the other is all just getting on with it (Mars). Emotional outbursts and misunderstandings need to be managed to avoid confrontations when things don't seem to go your way.
Mars' debilitation can go one of two ways: 1) you may feel a lack of motivation as feelings override what you should be doing, e.g. I know I should do ____ but I just don't feel like it, or 2) you may overcompensate from the get-go and overdo it, exhausting yourself in the process. The energy just isn't there to do things as productively in July and when we add a Mercury retrograde into the mix, it has the potential to be infuriating as we grapple with the lack of clarity and direction. It will feel like all of our plans are not moving forward, while things begin to shift beneath our feet due to the eclipses.
Thankfully, Mars' debilitation is cancelled in Scorpio due to Jupiter, which helps us deal with the lack of direction from the Aries perspective. The best way of dealing with the uncertainty in July is to enjoy the meandering for a while, perhaps taking a holiday or more rest than usual. Mars enters combustion from July 12 until October 22, increasing the likelihood of heated exchanges, and heat in general, for the rest of the summer.
There is a partial lunar eclipse on July 16/17, closing an intense eclipse window, while opening up many opportunities for change; in relation to the signs Gemini and Sagittarius, and any planets you may have placed therein. This occurs at the very end of sidereal Sagittarius, very close to Pluto; once again activating the planets in Gemini and Sagittarius, impacting everyday life, business and travel with a 'crisis of meaning', as we continue to question where humanity is going in the long term. Sagittarius usually takes an optimistic look at the future, but with the Saturn - south node and Pluto conjunctions there is much to dismantle that is standing in the way of our view of any kind of bright future.
New Moon Total Solar Eclipse July 2
The month starts off with the new Moon which is a total solar eclipse, at 16 degrees of sidereal Gemini. This is where we find the lunar sign, Ardra, a fierce and purposeful sign, which is where we find the Orion constellation and the brightest star within, named Betelgeuse.
Do you remember what happened in Tim Burton's movie, Beetlejuice when his name was said three times? While we wouldn't necessarily want the kind of character showing up in July, we need to be aware of the possibility of some rudeness, at the very least. We can make the most of this new Moon and solar eclipse, to challenge ourselves and face our fears. Beetlejuice appears as a snake at one point in the movie, terrorizing the household: Rahu is associated with Ardra, as is Rudra, the storm god, known as 'the roarer'. Another translation is simply 'the rude one'! This brings a destructive, yet productive feel to the month, which begins on this new Moon.
As always, unpredictable weather patterns and destruction are highly likely during a solar eclipse, especially as the Sun transits the stormy lunar sign, Ardra, from the Solstice until July 4. We could feel this as emotional storms. Acts of violence and of people taking a stand against any kind of repression are also likely. It's all about to kick off in July, so make sure you are on the right side of the argument if you are getting into one.
The north node (Rahu) transits this eclipse degree in November, just in time for the US elections! The north node usually throws up some shocks and surprises, and in the sign Gemini we are not sure of what is real and what is unreal in terms of what is being communicated. This is confusing.
The eclipse will be visible from small parts of Chile and Argentina just before sunset, as well as some regions in the Pacific and in South America. Some locations in Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay will see a partial solar eclipse. We have already seen a total black out in places like Argentina and in Uruguay. It isn't always the case, but sometimes the solar eclipse tells it's story in more obvious ways.
For timing, visit timeanddate.com
Donald Trump and the Eclipse
President Trump has his Mercury very close to the July eclipse which rules his exaggerated (11th house ruler) speech (2nd house ruler). We are likely to see something revealed when Rahu transits here in November. Eclipses bring change; to the area of the chart it transits, as well as planets it conjoins. 11th house relates to group associations and earnings, as well as friendships and one's worldview. This eclipse has a big impact on Trump's thinking, as he is also currently experience a sub-sub cycle of Mercury which shows how he is responding. What he has said, or will say, will change the course of the debate. As Rahu transits this degree by November, during the elections, we are likely to hear more shocking and upsetting things (this is where we see the lunar sign Ardra).
In November 2016, during the US election, Rahu transited 15 degrees of sidereal Leo, the very degree where we experienced the previous eclipse on September 1, 2016. This brought the shock and upset, manifesting Rahu, the dragon's head in all its glory. The American chart had just begun a cycle of Rahu, and this continues until 2033, highlighting the shadows of the eclipse, while Rahu itself is said to be unusual, divisive, ambitious and self-aggrandizing. Rahu represents a 'go it alone' type of attitude which brings fear and inadequacy, along with some innovative and 'out-of-the-box' thinking. With every innovation comes hundreds of initial mistakes.
Mercury Retrograde July 7 - August 1
Mercury is conjunct Mars on July 8-9, just at it enters its retrograde phase. As Mercury joins Mars, while combustion from July 14 until July 29, there is a lot of mental tension which can result in angry outbursts and arguments, but it could just as easily be utilized as a means to seek clarity where there is currently confusion.
Mercury joins the Sun by exact degree on July 21, which is a 'new Mercury' and the mid-point in the retrograde cycle, offering some new insights, albeit shrouded in a lot of misinterpretation due to emotional reactivity. A cool, calm head is needed throughout July because of Mercury's retrograde and its conjunction with Mars. Mercury does not do well in Cancer, anyway, but when it is retrograde, and with Mars, strong emotions take over our rational minds, leading to impulsiveness. Mars in Cancer is a childish expression of the planet of war, so it's combination with Mercury retrograde can lead to poor communications, resulting in a mess!
Mercury re-enters Gemini on July 30, but just about. It stations direct on August 1 at the last degree of Gemini, before returning to Cancer from August 2, until August 26. So there is much more emotional terrain to negotiate before the end of summer, as we try to figure out what we are feeling, truly, and communicate from this sensitive, instinctual place of being. Mercury won't leave its shadow phase until August 15, at which point we should be clear about how to move forward after the many twists and turns.
Sun in Gemini and Cancer
Sun is conjunct the north node (Rahu) and opposite Saturn, south node (Ketu) and Pluto as it transits sidereal Gemini. It is exactly opposite Saturn on July 9, as it conjoins the north node, with Mars and a retrograde Mercury conjoin. This is a period to be especially mindful of. The Sun - Saturn opposition is restrictive, yet exaggerated because of Rahu, highlighting the dynamics between Saturn and the north node and the boundary issues when both face off. This can be used to focus energy and awareness, as opposed to scattering our attention and vitality, but it could just as easily play out in extremes. Gemini tends to scatter energy and create all kinds of stormy conditions, literally and figuratively. This is especially the case as the Sun transits Ardra, the domain of the storm god, from June 21 to July 4.
The Sun is opposite Pluto by July 14, before it moves into sidereal Cancer on July 16. This marks a period of transition in the year, from the Sun's northern route on the northern hemisphere to its southerly route. This transition is the first movement of signs after the Solstice, and a key half division of the year.
The Sun in Gemini can exhaust us with all the activity, while in Cancer it is more conducive to staying home and taking more rest or heading off on holiday. But be mindful or running away from things which need your attention.
Full Moon Partial Lunar Eclipse July 16/17
The full Moon is at 22.38 GMT/UT +1 on July 16, in the lunar sign, Uttarasadha which means 'latter victory'. Those who can keep their nerve, especially as the Moon moves through Sagittarius from July 15, can be victorious in battle, but many will simply feel mid-July as an emotionally fraught period because of this full Moon and eclipse.
This eclipse occurs at the very last degree of sidereal Sagittarius, where Pluto has been hanging around for some time; at the brink of something new, yet still not moving into its new position until January 2020. This brings with it more emphasis on the themes of dismantling all that we must before setting out to rebuild. Generally, this is occurring in the sign of religious beliefs, laws and policies, which rule our lives, so the eclipse will throw something up in July that changes the conversation. We've already seen the impact planets' transits have on the eclipse degrees, even before the eclipse itself, as Mars transited opposite in June.
This full Moon is called Guru Purnima, a day to honour our teachers. Because it is eclipsed, we are just as likely to experience a shadow aspect of teachings, or teachers we follow, or those who are meant to 'lead us from temptation', perhaps bringing up more scandals. The recent rewording of the Our Father prayer is yet another example of the changes in the church, for example.
This full Moon is the second consecutive full Moon in Sagittarius, as June's full Moon occurred at the beginning of the sign. With these two full Moons as bookends to Sagittarius, we are likely to experience much more emphasis on ethics, laws and law-makers, as well as priests, teachers and truth - or the emotional reactions to the lack thereof.
Getting on with the changes we have already instigated is the task on this full Moon and eclipse. But it won't be clear who or what we should believe, initially. Eventually, the shadows of confusion lead to the light of understanding.
For timings, visit timeanddate.com
Venus Conjunct North Node (Rahu)
Venus is conjunct Rahu and opposite Saturn on July 17. It is opposite Pluto on July 21. This brings up shadows and confusion in relation to Venusian themes, such as money, possessions, values, relationships and sensual pursuits.
The Venus/Rahu combination is one to be mindful of overdoing it, as always, but especially as it transits Gemini, the sign that is all about interaction and sex. Read an article I wrote about the risqué qualities of Rahu and Venus combinations here. On the other hand, Saturn opposing Venus is keeping it in check, so we needn't worry about the Rahu/Venus combo really. Saturn is everything Rahu is not! Saturn represents restraint, delays, responsibilities and objectivity. Saturn is very clear with boundaries, despite Rahu's best attempts to break them down completely.
Make sure you are aware of your own boundaries, whether it is of your spending habits in July or with your sexuality and personal relationships. We all like to feel safe with healthy boundaries set, which is why Rahu scares and thrills us, equally. Pluto's opposition adds another layer, as we continue to work at removing hidden blocks to progress from a more philosophical mind set and eye on the bigger picture.
Venus in Cancer July 23
Venus meets with a retrograde Mercury as soon as it enters Cancer, exact on July 24, which places both 'excitable' planets in a 'planetary war' at the beginning of the sign. Cancer is emotive, instinctive and changeable, so while Mercury and Venus are together here there is ample opportunity for play. But play nice now, because this is the sign Cancer and feelings that all too easily get hurt!
Venus is a lower (nothing wrong with that) impulse of love than the Moon's higher impulse. Both mixing it up shows a need to express love in its full spectrum, from unconditional, open-hearted love, all the way through more needy attachments and co-dependency.
New Moon in Gemini (Total Solar Eclipse) Jul 2
Saturn conjunct South Node Jul 4
Mercury stations Retrograde Jul 7
Mercury conjunct Mars Jul 8-9
Sun opposite Saturn Jul 9
Sun conjunct North Node Jul 9
Mars enters combustion Jul 12
Sun opposite Pluto Jul 14
Full Moon in Sagittarius (Partial Lunar Eclipse) Jul 16
Sun enters Cancer Jul 16
Venus opposite Saturn Jul 17
Venus conjunct North Node Jul 17
Venus opposite Pluto Jul 21
Sun conjunct Mercury Jul 21
Venus enters Cancer Jul 23
Mercury conjunct Venus Jul 24
Mercury re-enters Gemini Jul 30
Mercury stations direct Aug 1
All calculations are based on the sidereal zodiac and UTC.