From June to August


By now, as I'd described, the veritable resolutions and conclusions which June brought to our largely-Venus-rx-dominated first chunk of '17 have revealed themselves.

Looking ahead, we anticipate our next big astrological turning-point in the second half of August, anchored by a powerhouse solar eclipse in Leo (on Aug 21).

Between now and then, our astroscape will feature continuing effects from the same main aspect-configuration already in play all year so far—Jupiter's simultaneous Uranus opposition and Pluto square, a later-onset reactivation of the Uranus-Pluto upheaval that's defined the 2010s.

As I write this, Mercury and Mars are conjunct in Cancer (exact on Jun 28) and moving together to oppose Pluto (on Jun 29 and Jul 2, respectively), another pronounced example of faster-moving inner planets cruising into the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto t-square's orb-of-influence, triggering its ever-present energies into an immediate amplified expression. Mercury and Mars already completed squares to Jupiter over the past few days. To complete their dalliances with this outer-planet huddle, they'll each square off against Uranus: first speed-demon Mercury (Jul 4), then somewhat-slower Mars (Jul 17).

Neither Mercury nor Mars are especially direct or forthright in Cancer, an emotive but relatively nonverbal sign driven more by asserting care than overt self-interest… though, of course, 'care' has its own self-serving motives. Mercury in Cancer communicates its truth by creating a mood rather than listing facts or explaining details. This watery Mercury speaks from the heart, and recognizes any warning-signs by the sick or skittish sensations they stir in the gut.

Mars is at a much greater disadvantage in Cancer (where it's in its fall), due in no small part to its muddled relationship to caregiving. Mars in Cancer earnestly wants to take actions that show its nurturing nature… at the same time it also desires, for itself, the feeling of connectedness that comes from others' appreciating what it's done for them. Mars is at its best in Cancer when proactively tending to emotional well-being (over less 'essential' concerns), doing whatever's necessary to protect and provide for loved ones, needy souls, and/or the world-at-large—as long as the recipients are aware of, amenable to, and grateful for the support. When Mars in Cancer goes wrong, the 'care' may be forcibly foisted upon others, stealthily carried out without their full awareness, and/or meant (consciously or not) to feed their emotional dependence.

As Mercury and Mars tangle with this ongoing outer-planet snarl, their oppositions to Pluto present the starkest showdown. This is quintessential 'power struggle' astrology. Our efforts to demonstrate care, tend to others' feelings, and/or nourish our sense of interpersonal connection are likely to be thwarted or fought off… whether by sharp confrontation with some formidable institutional roadblock (a reminder that 'caring' sometimes just isn't enough to get a job done?), a strong personality (someone who doesn't wish to play the 'recipient' role we've slated them for?), and/or our own shadow-side (which apparently isn't so 'nurturing' when its version of nurture doesn't bring us what we wanted?).

Our best intentions may prove no match for that stubborn obstacle or inconvenient reality. Our unconscious manipulations could be called out or retaliated against. Our ideas about how to best express our love and support might need a reality-check wakeup call. Our job here is to dutifully unpack any negative responses or results—to investigate how our own leaky desires, shady omissions, or unintegrated need-to-be-needed contributed to this situational difficulty—rather than assuming it's entirely the other party's ugliness to blame.

The subsequent squares to a fiery Uranus will help to expose these underlying power dynamics, inspiring hasty emotional utterances and abrupt turns that'll disturb any superficial stillness or silence. Under stress from Uranus, it's hard not to say or do the thing our impulses rouse in us. But though too swift or heedless a word or deed is liable to blow the cover off any below-deck Mercury/Mars-in-Cancer maneuvering, it'll at least bring the submerged issue up to the surface.

These same themes extend into the month ahead, courtesy of the Sun in Cancer following these same steps Mercury and Mars will have traveled: The Sun also squares Jupiter (Jul 5), opposes Pluto (Jul 9), and squares Uranus (Jul 20) during its trip across Cancer. When the Sun travels through Cancer, our still-ongoing Uranus/Pluto call to self-revolutionize involves discerning between our full-hearted intuitive instincts and our hungry-hearted emotional yearnings, continuing to check in with ourselves about our own moment-to-moment motives as each mood shift.

Though Mars and the Sun will both stay in Cancer a short while longer (through Jul 20 and Jul 22, respectively), Mercury leaves the crab-sign and enters Leo next week (on Jul 5). Beautifully, during its three-week stint in this theatrically expressive fire-sign, Mercury will keep a fairly low profile by forming no major hard aspects to any other planet. This relative ease will also carry collateral benefits along to Venus, which also changes signs next week when it lands in Gemini (on Jul 4), a sign disposited by Mercury.

This pairing of Venus in Gemini with an unimpeded Mercury-in-Leo dispositor should happily bring a lighter-hearted tone to our social scene, as we more easily attract a variety of relational inputs and interactions based on our eager willingness to narrate the latest riveting tales from our epic life's-journey. Deliberately packing our calendar full of meetups with a diverse cast of characters will help us try out alternate versions of a story still in the midst of cohering… offering us the chance to figure out what meaning, moral, identity, or call-to-action we'll eventually draw from our recent developments, as we observe different people reacting differently to each of our narrative flourishes and tweak our own understandings accordingly.

Our Venus-in-Gemini capacity to explore these multiple scenarios simultaneously could become too convoluting—and, thus, create a potential authenticity problem for ourselves and/or others—as Venus builds closer toward its square with Neptune (exact on Jul 17). Should such a problem arise, we mustn't ignore corresponding pressures to draw the line, make a call, and/or choose one over the other once Venus opposes Saturn (Jul 24). Our mindful participation in particular relationships which accurately reflect our values, interests, and preferences is always an act of self-definition. Without practicing proper discrimination in our relational affiliations, though, we signal we aren't quite sure who we are.