Tomorrow, as the United States celebrates its birthday, the Cancer Sun, poised to the degree over its natal position, will oppose the Capricorn Moon. The Earth, caught in the middle, will cast a shadow over the Moon, narrowly eclipsing our nocturnal orb. This is more than just a full moon: the synchronistic timing and the involvement of the south node in Sagittarius bring karma to bear on this transit. This is the last eclipse we will have on the Cancer-Capricorn axis until 2037, when we will pick up this thread again.
All around the cardinal axes of the zodiac—Cancer, Capricorn, Aries and Libra—the bases are loaded, creating a tension above and beyond that of the full moon alone. Cardinal signs represent initiatory energy, and a configuration such as this contains powerful dynamism and a sense of urgency that must find action—or activism—to keep that energy flowing productively and to forestall gridlock and frustration. In Cancer, we have the Sun, Mercury and Vesta (see my previous post for more on that). In Aries—Mars, Chiron and Lilith. In Libra there is Juno the All-Mother—presiding solo, but not to be ignored. And in Capricorn, not only the Moon, but Saturn, Pluto, Jupiter and Pallas, all of whom are now back within its walls due to retrograde. We’ve talked about them quite a bit this year. In short, strong minds and strong opinions, in either square or opposition to one another, are holding down the four corners of the zodiac and demanding to be heard. Fierce queens and warrior kings face off in a battle of wills.
Racism, sexism, xenophobia, nationalism, leadership, security, societal structures and institutions are the themes of this story. How we build, how we protect, how we relate and how we confront. The planetary bodies in question, in our lived experience, express themselves in the numerous and diverse voices of society: some champion the underdog, some uphold the dynasties; some argue for maintaining tradition, others for breaking with it; some want violence, others want peace. All have the courage of their convictions behind them, and none especially want to listen to what the others have to say.
What version of the past do you subscribe to? What type of fight do you believe is worth fighting? What constitutes peace and balance for you, and what are the power dynamics that play out in your relationships? What is burning to be initiated in your life and what are some goals to work toward so that you don’t feel stuck or stagnant? The full moon will shine a light on whatever those stories are and the eclipse will send them reverberating in all directions of the ineffable cosmic timeline.
To the earliest humans, fire was rare magic and a gift from the gods. If you were lucky enough to capture the lighting bolt of Zeus, you would be wise to keep it burning, for all the advantages it would give you for survival. Those who were successful at taming it, controlling it and utilizing it were favored by the gods and goddesses of wisdom–civilizing forces at the forefront of a quantum evolutionary leap in humanity.
This week, the cosmos has a tale to tell about fire in its transformative, awakening function. It’s not the lengthy battle novel that is Mars in Aries, but it’s in the same genre. This story appears to be about the magician who creates and sustains life, while the gods whisper into one ear. It is a story about rebellion, breakthrough and, sometimes, sacrifice. Foresight as both a gift and a curse.
Today, retrograde Mercury disappears into the burning heart of the Cancer Sun. It is the start of a new cycle for the magus, akin to the waxing phase of a new moon. Astrologer Dane Rudhyar named this reborn planet Promethean Mercury, in reference to the Titan trickster of Greek mythology. Prometheus, whose name means “forethought,” was an ally to mortals and a maverick, who stole fire from the gods of Olympus and gave it to humans, concealed in a fennel stalk. This Sun-Mercury combination is subversive and innovative, and incites independent thinking.
Meanwhile, astrologer Richard Tarnas has argued convincingly that the planet Uranus would have been better named Prometheus, as it is the archetypal Awakener. Well as it happens, Uranus is making an exact sextile from Taurus, increasing the friction and upping the voltage on this transit and in our lives. Prometheus is speaking through both of his astrological channels.
But that’s not all! From there, as Mercury continues backward along its path, on Saturday the Sun moves forward to meet with asteroid Vesta, another primordial fire goddess, conjoining over the fixed star Sirius. Sirius, whose name means “scorching,” is the brightest of all the stars in the sky, and the herald of the hottest time of year. Coupled with the midsummer strength of our star, this makes for quite a crucible.
And so, Prometheus strikes a match, lights the taper, and smuggles it to Vesta for safe-keeping. The sacred flame flares hotter, and the goddess is pleased. Down below, we receive this transmission in the form of divine download. For some, it feels like revolutionary fervor; for others, it will be flashes of insight or sparks of genius. Either way, there is agitation and stimulation in the air. It certainly sets an electrifying scene for this year’s Fourth of July: the sky lit up with fireworks and tear gas, and our synapses lit up with incendiary thoughts. It’s a fine line between exciting and explosive. With this much of a powderkeg, remember to exercise caution. When the lightning strikes, we want it to bring brilliance, not burns.
2020 is now half over, but we are still very much in the early stages of the Great Dismantling. As Jupiter and Pluto align for the second of three conjunctions, and Saturn returns to Capricorn for the next six months, we are experiencing a reprise of the same song and dance that has formed the soundtrack to the year so far. The difference being, this time, the major players are all retrograde. All three as close to the Earth, and as far from the Sun, as they will be all year.
Zeus meets Hades: the ruler of Mount Olympus shakes hands with the god of the Underworld, and in this time we all experience glimpses of our own personal heavens as well as our own personal hells. Saturn, then, keeps us from veering too far in one direction, reminding us of our purpose and our soul contracts—there is far too much work to be done here on Earth first. What I hear them saying is: change for the world will happen from the top down and from the bottom up; for the individual, it will happen from within.
Tibetan Buddhist Pema Chodron wrote, “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” If Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn, retrograde in Capricorn, are our teachers in this case, then what we need to know has something to do with power and authority, fear and faith. Where we find those things internally and where we source them out in the world. To whom and to what do you relinquish or exercise your authority? What empowers you and what disempowers you? Does your faith come from within or from without? What is your internalized archetypal image of The Father, and how do you project that onto the world around you? What is worth investing in and what needs to be scrapped and rethought? With all these major forces at play, it is crucial we keep our fingers on our pulses and our ears attuned to our hearts, and try to follow the guides within.