It’s fitting, I suppose, that such a monthly AstroCast post of mine falls on the holiday of the 4th of July here in the United States, a day whose theme of liberation from tyranny resounds strongly in the country’s current political climate. That theme is also echoed in the heavy Uranian cosmic footprint this month, which I’ll explore with you in a moment, adding combustion to the already-dramatic events of the ongoing Mars Retrograde in Aquarius and the two eclipses that will be happening this month. We’re talking major detonation events in the collective and in our personal lives, and clashes of belief systems and individual antagonistic wills shall serve as the ordinance. Are you ready? Take a deep breath from your diaphragm, hold it to a count of four, and exhale slowly before reading on. Here come July’s fireworks. (Photos below taken last night from my Chicago balcony of a neighborhood 4th of July fireworks display.)
Since there is so much information to impart here, I’m going to organize the content by (1) giving an overview on the ongoing Mars Retrograde and key planetary aspects forming to Mars this month (hint: the Uranian energy mentioned above is a huge player); (2) discussing the Grand Trines in Water and Earth Signs, respectively; (3) detailing the July 12 Cancer New Moon Partile Solar Eclipse and its key planetary players; (4) breaking down the more alarming (to me) energies of the July 27 Aquarius Full Moon Total Lunar Eclipse; and (5) listing other planetary transits of note for the month.
Please note: All times given reflect my time zone of Central Daylight Time in the U.S. Please adjust for your time zone accordingly.
Mars Retrograde in Aquarius
I’ll be honest: as a Virgo Sun Sign, I’d rather deal with 5 back-to-back Mercury Retrograde periods (mind you, Mercury is my ruling planet!) than endure just one Mars Retrograde. I’m writing these words as someone facing severe physical health challenges at present (I’m scheduled for an MRI of my brain tomorrow morning at a local hospital, in fact) that I know have been induced by transiting Retrograde Mars in 8° of Aquarius in my 12th House of Undoing sitting in a tight, two-degree conjunction with the transiting lunar South Node (Ketu, in Vedic Astrology) at 8° of Aquarius, whose function is to clear away. Mars Retrogrades are challenging for everyone, and what truly exacerbates the awfulness is that, unlike fleet-footed Mercury once He stations Direct, Mars does not move speedily after stationing Direct, so the low vitality and low libido, the propensity for accidents and illnesses, the lack of motivation, and the chronic fatigue that He brings (now you see why ancient astrologers called Mars a “malefic”) during His Retrograde tend to linger for weeks afterwards. (How those Mars Retrograde challenges manifest in your life and to what degree are determined by the House Mars is transiting and aspects formed to other transiting planets as well as to your natal planets.)
Mars’ cycle is roughly 686 days, so every two years from our Earthly vantage point, when Earth’s orbit comes between Mars and the Sun, we appear to see Mars moving “backwards,” hence the Retrograde. The trickiest days to navigate during any planetary Retrograde period are the days when that planet stations Retrograde or Direct: Mars entered Aquarius on May 16 and then stationed Retrograde on June 26. By the beginning of August He will be a key player in an extremely volatile t-square to Uranus in Taurus and the Leo Sun (more on that in a bit), He backtracks into Capricorn on August 13, and He doesn’t station Direct (in Capricorn) until Monday morning, August 27.
Mars reenters Aquarius (Direct) the night of Monday, September 10 at 7:56 CDT and doesn’t leave Aquarius territory until Thursday, November 15, at 4:21 p.m. CDT, when He makes His ingress into Pisces. This is nearly 5 months total spent traversing Aquarius, and the Shadow side of Mars (related to the themes of war, violence, and crime) have the opportunity to merge with the high-tech, innovative vibes of Aquarius. Every day seems to reveal a news headline of a data security breach with some company or other, and cyber-warfare and hacking are Mars in Aquarius’ specialties. This will be something to keep mindful of as we uneasily eye the world stage as the July 27 Full Moon Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius draws near, because Retrograde Mars at 4° of Aquarius will be exactly conjunct Ketu, the Moon’s South Node of Karmic Clearing, opposing Rahu, the Moon’s North Node at 5° of Leo, and building in its t-square to the Leo Sun (at 4°) and Uranus at 2° Taurus: a horrible recipe for war if ever there was one. (As a dubious added malefic “bonus,” the eclipse’s geographical descent falls squarely on North Korea’s capital of Pyongyang, so belligerence and saber-rattling between Kim Jung-Un and America’s own extremely volatile, born-on-a-full-moon-lunar-eclipse-himself Donald Trump will likely ratchet up in intensity.)
The whole transit of Mars in Aquarius—this whole 5-month period covering the Retrograde and Direct movements of Mars—will be an extremely cautionary one because Mars will be in the most hostile aspect possible to the ruler of Aquarius, Uranus, forming no less than 3 exact squares. The first happened on May 16, the day that Mars made His ingress into Aquarius. Think back to the kinds of struggles you may have been experiencing in your life from the second to the fourth weeks of May. Those will likely come back for you to experience during the second square, which becomes exact on August 1 while Mars is Retrograde, and the third square, which occurs on September 18 when Mars is moving Direct again. (Albeit extremely slowly!)
A Mars-Uranus square always brings extremely cautionary energies that have to do with explosions, combustions, fires (electrical, in particular), transportation (especially automobile) accidents (with injuries to the head, the part of the body Mars rules), and surgeries. Please exercise extreme caution when traveling and just plain interacting with people, period. Minor irritations will quickly escalate into heated arguments, so do your best to steer clear of dramatic circumstances and individuals and do not allow yourself to be drawn into situations where physical violence can manifest within seconds. This goes double for instances of “road rage” (though I’ve even witnessed truly horrifying instances of what were “parking lot rage” amongst angry strangers vying for parking spots at crowded attractions).
Mars-Uranus squares also incite rebellion against authority, both in the collective/politically as well as personally. These transits awaken great restlessness and a desire to be free of restrictions and constraints. Since Mars rules the ego, it is always best to do a check-in with yourself and ask about motives and desired outcomes: Is a sudden, total revolution really something you’re yearning for in your life? Why? Or are you reacting in a negative way to a circumstance or person because of a perceived threat to your ego? It’s when we’re unconscious of the need to make creative changes in our lives that malefic planetary energies “happen” to us in the cautionary scenarios I outlined above—signs from the Universe that you need to break away from something in order to be your True Authentic Self (what Uranus/Aquarius demand of us). As legendary astrologer Robert Hand notes in Planets in Transit,
“An accident can be the sign of frustrated ego energies transmuted into destructive powers” (248).
No matter how daunting, the planetary powers invite us to co-create with their energies. How can you use Mars-Uranus squares as an opportunity to awaken your authentic, creative selfhood? That’s the goal spoken by the Still, Small Voice Within all of us to strive for…while staying away / disengaging from the world’s craziness during this summer.
Grand Trines in Water and Earth Signs to the Rescue!
Mercifully, in the cosmic system of ma’at (balance) that I believe in, Gods in my Universe don’t dish out overwhelming challenges through planetary energies without also tossing some saving graces our way. For this month, amidst the aridity and the turmoil caused by the heat of the fomenting Retrograde Mars square to Uranus and the square to the Leo Sun on August 1 (a transit called a t-square because the planets configured in the sky are shaped like a capital letter “T,” with Mars forming the stem in this case and Uranus and the Leo Sun at opposite ends), and the drama of the eclipses, we’ve got two Elemental sets of Grand Trines in the background to soothe and stabilize us! Huzzah! I’m talking about a Grand Trine in Water Signs (involving Jupiter in 16° Scorpio trining the Sun in 15° Cancer trining Neptune in 16° Pisces) for the first half of the month and a Grand Trine in Earth Signs for the latter half of the month (featuring Venus in 13° Virgo, Pluto and Saturn in 19° and 3° of Capricorn, respectively, and Uranus in 3° of Taurus).
Focusing on the Element of Water and the themes of harmonizing our emotions/emotional body, healing, nurturing love, developing and using our intuition and psychic faculties, the Grand Trine in Water Signs reaches its peak between July 5 and July 8, when many people in the U.S. in particular are enjoying the entirety of the 4th of July holiday weekend. This is an ideal time to literally plunge into healing waters, whether they’re located in Lake Michigan (in my case), the ocean, the pool at your gym, your backyard, or even your bathtub (assuming you make it an intentional healing bath with dried herbs and essential oils, etc.). These are the nurturing womb-waves of the Sun in Cancer, the archetypal Mother who is culturally expressed in great Sea Goddesses across the world’s pantheons.
The complementary Grand Trine in Earth Signs (remember, Water and Earth “play well” together as the two “Feminine” of the Four Classical Elements noted by the ancient Greeks) kicks off on Monday, June 9, once beguiling Venus enters the sensible and sensual sign of Virgo at 9:32 p.m. CDT. Venus in Virgo is realistic about affairs of the heart and about one’s bank balance too: She sees and loves people for who they are (warts and all) and provides emotional and often material support to partners (whether through nutritious home-cooked meals, financially supporting a spouse through tough times, giving great massages, etc.).
Venus in Virgo typically doesn’t waste Her valuable time on casual flings, and looks to build love to last. In this, She will be supported by Her trine to stabilizing, let’s-get-real Saturn in Capricorn and to quirky but earthy Uranus in Taurus. This Grand Earth Trine brings sexual healing through kinky erotic adventures characterized by sensual stimuli and stamina. Uranus in Taurus injects a note of novelty (“Let’s try these new toys!”) while Virgo and Saturn imply that such activities take place between emotionally mature, fully consenting adults who love and trust each other and are very much “at home” in their bodies. Have at it!
This Grand Earth Trine, needless to say, is also a boon to financial matters and to Manifestation Magic in general, as well as to shoring up the grounding and centering activities skill development we’re all going to need to do to stay calm amidst the external unfolding chaos of this month. I advise grounding and centering in quiet and majestic outdoor places—let nature heal you underneath wide-open summer (or winter) skies.
The Partile Cancer New Moon Partial Solar Eclipse on July 12
Best seen in Australia, this New Moon (exact at 9:48 p.m. CDT) / Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer is a partile one because one or more planets (the Moon and Sun in Cancer and powerful Pluto in Capricorn) will all be at the same degree in their signs: 20°, in this case. Numerologically speaking, the number 2 is an other-focused number: the goal is to be a good mediator amidst circumstances of division, taking diverging viewpoints into account. The opposition factor is highlighted by the fact that Pluto will be opposite the Sun and Moon, highlighting power struggles in interpersonal relationships, so please be mindful of this theme in the days leading up to the eclipse and be mindful that this can last for up to 6 months afterwards!
The Cancerian themes of home, family, emotional security and comfort, psychological foundations, etc., can undergo drastic transformations (Pluto) and manifest in a myriad of ways, depending on what’s going on in your chart. People with their Sun or Rising Signs in Earth Signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) will have a better time adapting to the transformations involved as the stability is being provided to them from the Grand Trine in Earth Signs humming in the background.
Water Sign (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) Sun or Rising Sign natives may have a more challenging time recognizing the need to release what needs to pass in order for transformation to take place, and the degree of resistance is dependent on the relationship to Pluto in one’s chart, with Cancer having the biggest challenge due to the direct opposition with Pluto. Again, intensify self-care measures and walk away from drama as much as possible to help weather the changes. Focus on the support and healing provided by the Grand Trine in Water Signs, which is also still operating.
The Aquarius Full Moon Total Lunar Eclipse on July 27
As I mentioned earlier in this post, Retrograde Mars in Aquarius and His looming August 1st t-square to both Uranus in Taurus and the Leo Sun will color this lunar eclipse event with volatility, so please have your psychic shields up and running by July 18 to prepare. Again, the Full Moon at 4° Aquarius will be exactly conjunct the South Node (Ketu) and Retrograde Mars in the middle of the t-square, opposing the North Node (Rahu) in Leo to boot—this latter energy karmically calls us towards the issue of leadership, an issue already championed by the Sun in Leo. Are you the leader in your own life? How do you “rule”? How do you balance the needs of Self versus Other? Is that dynamic harmonious and colored by magnanimity of spirit, or is it fraught with power plays, inauthenticity and deception, or even violence?
The presence of Ketu/the South Node in that conjunction with Mars and the Full Moon speaks to karmic clearing of past patterns with leadership that haven’t served us well. The events on the world stage at this time will be very revealing, and more than likely highly disturbing, to see, but please pay attention to what’s going on whilst ramping up your self-care regimen.
“Eclipse cycles in one’s life have the potential, via the secrets they unlock, to bring our deeper karmic issues to the surface.”—Joni Patry, Rahu and Ketu, p.133
If you know which houses the North and South Nodes of the Moon are transiting in this Leo-Aquarius cycle (which began on May 10, 2017 and lasts until November 6 of this year), you can understand the spiritual lessons that you’re being cosmically tasked to master. For example, the transiting North Node (Rahu) in Leo is moving through my 6th House of Health, Work, and Service, opposing the South Node (Ketu) in Aquarius in my 12th House of Undoing, which, unfortunately for me, highlights distress to the physical body (Rahu in the 6th) and visits to the hospital (Ketu in the 12th), which is exactly what’s been happening to me immediately after Mars went Retrograde in Aquarius at the end of June. The 6th House, aside from being health-related, also has to do with work and one’s day-to-day environment and routine. Sadly, this is a time that I can’t exactly trust colleagues and supervisors—not just in terms of relying on them to shoulder the work load, but also because of more alarming issues like the theft of my clients and ideas.
“Eclipses falling in these opposite houses suggest a message about how you take care of yourself and others. Your health is a source of major concern, even anxiety. On the plus side, however, a fear of disease is a sign that it’s time to take care of your health. Although your bias is to think of others, focus on caring for yourself” (Patry 139).
Definitely words I’ll be keeping in mind as I sit in an MRI tube for 45 minutes tomorrow morning, whilst radiologists try to pinpoint the as-yet-unknown source of my brain inflammation, which has been causing me neurological and vision problems, again, the very day that Mars went Retrograde in Aquarius. (As an aside, I’m a Double Aquarius: Ascendant and Moon, so the tolls being taken on me are not surprising, sadly.)
The best advice I can give for navigating eclipse energies is what I gleaned in person from evolutionary astrologer Maurice Fernandez at this year’s United Astrology Conference, held here in Chicago at the end of May. Since, as Maurice said, “eclipses blindfold the ego,” reminding you (sometimes forcefully) that “Something bigger than you takes over and can overshadow your reality,” he urges everyone to perform magico-religious ceremonies during eclipses, “honoring and connecting” with that Something outside of yourself, all while directing your intentions to trust the process that whatever is unfolding is happening for your Highest Good.
Key Planetary Transits of the Month
July 5: Mercury in Leo opposes Retrograde Mars in Aquarius. Here’s the Leo-Aquarius axis being evoked again, highlighting the dramatic (Leo) need to communicate (Mercury) your desires as an individual (Leo) versus the needs of the group (Aquarius). For people who will be back at work tomorrow in the U.S. and not taking the full week off due to the national holiday, be mindful of flaring tempers at meetings. Disengage from drama llamas.
July 9: Mercury in Leo squares Jupiter in Scorpio. This can actually be an excellent aspect for honing your intuition as well as doing investigative research. Jupiter in Scorpio unearths secrets. Pay attention to messages from your dreams.
July 9: Venus enters Virgo. This transit lasts until August 6 and is of especial importance to Virgo Sun Sign and Ascendant people. Bottom line: Venus will grace you with charm and increase your appeal, which does great things not just for dating and mating, but also with being looked upon favorably at job interviews or requests for a raise on the business front. Thinking about trying on a new style? Go for it! For folks who aren’t Virgos, this is a time to celebrate both your cerebral and sensual natures. Try new cultural experiences: study a new language, go to an art gallery showing, attend a festival. Walk barefoot on the earth in a beautiful outdoor location to celebrate Venus and to evoke Virgo’s healing and grounding energies.
July 10: Jupiter stations Direct in Scorpio at 12 noon CDT. His months-long Retrograde period over for the year, our Big Daddy of the zodiac is ready to move forward with His expansion plans in the intense and passionate sign of Scorpio. Depending on the House where Jupiter is transiting in your chart, you may feel the relief of progress and forward momentum picking up again if you’ve been stymied during the Retrograde.
July 11-13: Peak days for the Grand Trine in Earth Signs (Venus in Virgo, Uranus in Taurus, Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn). Get Craft-y with your Manifestation Magic! Also, Uranus in Taurus might bring an unexpected new love to those who are looking, especially for Sun and Ascendant Virgo people. In new or established relationships, the emphases are on making things work in a way that will last and loyalty.
July 22: The Sun enters the Fixed Fire Sign of Leo at 4 p.m. CDT. Leo energy is vibrant, theatrical, creative, and playful. Hold fast to those positive vibrations while the harsh square between the Sun and Uranus in Taurus builds; then the Sun opposes Saturn in Capricorn. Obstacles, delays in plans or plans radically altered at the 11th hour are par for the course.
July 26: Mercury stations Retrograde at 23° of Leo at midnight CDT. This Retrograde lasts until August 19. Yes, that means the frustration caused by the ongoing Mars Retrograde in Aquarius will be exacerbated by Mercury going Retrograde in Leo. Again, we’re dealing with opposing Signs, so find constructive ways to channel your anger and frustration levels. Hit the gym. Meditate. Walk in nature. Pound your cares away at a drum circle. And be sure to give yourself extra time to travel, avoid making large purchases or signing legally binding documents if you can help it, and back up your computer’s hard drive. People from the past may pop back into your life: only you can determine if they’re welcome visitations or annoyances needing to be banished.
July 27: Venus in Virgo trines Pluto in Capricorn. This lovely and healing transit allows us to draw from a deep well of emotional power, fuel for the transformations being evoked at the powerful Full Moon in Aquarius Total Lunar Eclipse.
Phew! That was a lot to get through, wasn’t it? I hope you feel more empowered after learning about all of these key cosmic energies afoot, though. Stay flexible this month as you keep pace with the accelerated changes happening around you. Ground and center yourself. Be loving. Don’t suppress the anger Retrograde Mars and the nasty t-square to Uranus and the Leo Sun evoke, but find healthy ways to channel that anger so it doesn’t manifest outwardly as accidents or projections onto other people. We’re all in this together, and we are definitely in Awakening Times on this planet. The planetary energies are here to hold up a collective mirror to ourselves.
As always, if you’d like me to take a detailed look at your chart to customize an Eclipse Survival Strategy for you, visit the Divination Services section of my Fellowship of Isis Iseum’s website, the Iseum of the Rekhet Akhu.
May your Holy Powers watch over you this month! So Mote It Be!
Hand, Robert. Planets in Transit: Life Cycles for Living. Atglen, PA: Whitford Press, 1976.
Patry, Joni. Rahu and Ketu: Our Karmic Destiny Through Eclipses. Dallas, TX: Galactic Center, 2017.