Special note: I began this column at Leo I 2019, which means that with this column, I’ve written an entire year of astrology columns by Decan. I’ve decided to celebrate by activating my Patreon account, finally, and publicizing it; The columns will likely continue without your support, but it would be nice if you decided to send $3 a month, or $1 per column for the year.
July 11 sees the entry of the Sun into Cancer III, “The Overflowing Cup” as Austin Coppock names it, at 5:08 pm Eastern US time. In Hellenistic sources, the next ten days are associated with Hekate or Hecate, one of the many chthonic or underworld deities of magic, death, sensuality, and transformation. If we begin by assuming that magic comes in two flavors — the theurgic, or spiritual self-transformation magic; and the thaumaturgic or wonder-working magic— then Hekate is very much a deity of the wonder-working persuasion. She is the sort of witchy character who turns men into pigs, like Circe in the Odyssey, or Nimue who imprisoned Merlin in a castle of glass with the spells he taught her.
In some systems of Tarot, this decan is associated with the Four of Cups — which Pamela Colman Smith depicted as a young man seated beneath a tree, being offered a magical cup from the otherworld, while three more cups sit before him on the ground. Four is a pretty stable and grounded number, but we also see in this stability a kind of locked-in structure: even if your desires change, the nature of your actual life may prevent new change from coming your way. Until you adjust the nature of your life, you can’t acquire anything different than what your life actually brings you.
And what is on offer in this decan is Desire, both its antecedents and its consequences. The Sun spotlights our desire for a fulfilling and happy life full of emotional significance. However, the Sun is presently opposed to the decan called The Throne in Capricorn, containing Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn. Cancer III itself is ruled by the Moon, presently conjunct Aries in the fifth house and square-by-sign to the Sun here (and also square-by-sign to the triple-threat of Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn).
What we want, in other words, is at cross purposes to our current financial constraints; and what we desire is caught in the trap between the gaping maw of the ongoing COVID-19 pestilence and an uncaring government on one side, and the genuine economic needs of our selves and our family on the other. Holding a mirror up to our own desires to understand them, though, only reveal how many of our longings have been cut off and burned away in the present time. It’s clearly a time for trying to do a little miracle-working.
The Sun at the outset of Cancer III is in a trine with Neptune retrograde, opposes-by-decan the ongoing cluster(f•ck?) of Jupiter-Pluto-Saturn, and is square-by-sign to the Moon and Mars. Thus, the Solar king seeks the high ground of reformist transformation, but must contend with real-world limits on desire imposed by both financial considerations and pandemic restrictions. He shares the sign with Mercury, whose retrograde finishes later today — but they still promise ongoing challenges in familial relationships between parent and progeny. The herald proffers a new chance to see eye-to-eye, once current negotiations are resolved.
In the seventh house, Venus both hold the sky above the Descendant in Gemini. A creative urgency affects our relationships with our partners (those of us who have them), while Venus’s sextile with the Moon-Mars combo promises a rare combination of ardency and conflict with those self-same partners — or a growing attraction to a potential new partner, for those of us marking “single” in our profiles. The North Node puts the ball squarely in the Other’s corner, though, either to cut off the nascent relationship or show mercy and let it continue.
In the sixth house, Uranus has entered the second decan, The Yoni-Lingam, shifting the focus from the regularity of the field and garden to a more debauched sort of plowing. Promising disruptions in the fields of health and work and employees, the revolutionary planet overturns old daily habits and suggests a new kind of work-from-home model could be born at this time.
In the fifth house, Mars and the Moon cluster in the first decan of Aries, The Double-Bladed Axe. The Moon stands in the First Mansion, a place of tremendous creative and destructive force, between two stars called Sharhatain and Menarsim, the twin fires that alternately birth and destroy the cosmic reality. Mars and the Moon are thus both returning to the starting positions of their cycles in the house of pleasures and of children — just as parents are beginning to think about whether to send their children back to school this fall, or keep them at home; just as questions of whether an economic re-opening of bars and restaurants is really safe or not. The sextile to Venus invites creative solutions to the problems of the present moment; being too staid or conservative risks the cruel cut or the unexpected burn. Be more innovative, and perform an almost-surgical analysis of your options under the focused lamps of logic, emotional surety, and psychic rigor.
In the fourth house, wily Neptune and the Imum Coeli occupy the bottom of the sky in the decan called the Cup of Blood. Our dreams are likely to be dark and disturbing and full of frightening omens that trouble the sleep of our households and call up frightening reminders of our childhood troubles. The trine to the sun, and the sextile to the Jupiter-Pluto-Saturn mess, entangle these upsetting night-visions with the daytime struggles of running a house and home without any effective internal boundaries or schedules.
In the third house of family and neighborhood, Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter are all retrograde in The Throne, the third decan of Capricorn. In your neighborhood and in your extended families, there’s a review of choices and decisions around the pandemic underway — with some choosing a responsible and dutiful approach toward the lives of other people, and others picking a more expansive view of their own freedoms. Between them lies toxic conflict, with each side making mockery of the other’s choices and driving a dividing wedge between two positions that ought not to be political at all. The “divided throne” of three masters each trying to assert their authority is visible to all— and benefits none.
In the first house, the Ascendant and the South Node each occupies a different decan of Sagittarius, with the horizon line in the Poisoned Arrow and the Node in The Horse’s Skull. In our public lives, fellow readers, we’re likely finding that no sooner do we target a thing we want, than the ongoing circumstances of self-isolation, quarantine, and exterior limits make that thing undesirable. This ongoing flogging of a dead horse reveals a bare-bones reality which diminishes us and maroons us, trapped in a reality-desert from which there is no escape. Current conditions are not likely to improve, and this skeletonizes us and prevents us from seeking our own larger goals.
In the Tenth House, the Midheaven stands in Virgo, in a decan ruled by Mercury called The Sarcophagus. Trine to retrograde Pluto but receiving only a tenuous gaze from its retrograde lord, we see the dead buried in isolation containers as fears grow about the contagion and poison in the corpses. You own career may be destined for the coffin box; at the least, “toxic work environment” doesn’t begin to cut it.
The Lot of Fortune closes out the planetary placements. With its position in Leo III, the Banner, it indicates that the best way to make money right now is to advance someone else’s career: Take some time to lift up the causes of your teachers and elders in the next ten days; or to support the ‘comrades in arms’ who are laboring in the same unit or school or caravan as you.
Rising Sign Horoscopes
Sagittarius: Your partner (if you have one) is in genuine need of an effective executive, and it may be time to set aside some of your plans in favor of theirs. Home is in need of some cleanup and new boundaries, but they’re unlikely to emerge for a while. Your physical urges may want some scratching, but current circumstances seem to destroy romantic options regularly — especially with so much time spent trying to convince enough clients to part with their cash.
Capricorn: It’s obvious to you what sort of financial protocols must be adopted in present circumstances, whether at work or at home — and impossible to get anyone else to see it quite your way, at least not without commandeering authority that isn’t really yours to take. You’ve found some new ways to make fun at home, but it’s burning through both mental and physical energy at a rapid pace. Your workplace and your team are facing ongoing upheaval that’s becoming almost-predictable, and your partner (got one?) is asking you for creative help on work problems now, too. Save some light banter for the relationship, and make sure that some of what you earn winds up in shared savings where you can.
Aquarius: There’s work you have to do (possibly for a client) that’s going to require a genuine breaking of the isolation you’ve cultivated so far; it’s going to disrupt house and home, and cause troubles with your bubble of ‘isolation partners’. The project is going to suffer from mission creep with concomitant financial gains, but significant financial turbulence at home: it’s not just going to be ‘one and done’, but an ongoing cycling of your circumstances. It might be easier to let your partner bear the financial load for a while, if the goal is to keep your covid-19 container secure against outside interference, but you may not have that option.
Pisces: Creating a widened definition of “home” is on your mind right now. Planning to admit others to your quarantine bubble, widening the framework of fun either for you or your children or family? Be aware that such decisions will place strain on your bank account, and likely cut off other options for fun; balance out your extended bubble with a recognition that taking some in means shutting others out. Good fortune comes from carrying a banner for others at this time.
Aries: Chances are better than average that you’re fired up and ready to get stuff done like never before, and you have an almost-psychic ability to divide and conquer your to-do list like never before. “Stand back, world, I’m gonna be ME for a while!” Try to remember, though, that real-world limits do exist: your bank accounts are not lazily underperforming, nor are your pennies sexily reproducing at the drop of a hat. A woman in your family is genuinely in need of your care and attention; the folks under your roof would like to communicate with you once and a while about their needs — and, oh, yeah, the boss would maybe give you a bonus if you were activating some of this energy in the direction of the project-list they gave you days or months ago.
Taurus: You’ve burned up all your solo-time for a while, and you have an ongoing appointment with your own restructured daily life that you’ve been putting off. You dream of spending time with your wild and wacky friends, but you’re of two minds about how to handle your growing responsibilities and the lessened effectiveness of your family. You’re safe and secure in the finances of home, at least for now. Yet you also must accept some of the limits on travel and home. Turn your attention to the wild for now, and seek to restore a measure of civility to the ground right outside your door.
Gemini: Relationship is strongly on your mind as these next ten days begin, and more strongly than ever you would like either a deeper connection to a partner, or maybe any partner at all. Some of it is governed by the need to communicate beyond the parent-child dynamic, or for a richer and more flowing emotional life, with greater access to the admittedly-financial benefits of partnership. The loneliness of the present circumstances likely touch you at work every day, especially if you work outside the home. AT the same time, you probably feel like there are friends who should be cut off — especially at the knees. You’re doing good work at the moment, but the breadth of your responsibilities seems to keep expanding; take care not to let your dream job run away with all your other dreams.
Cancer: You should get in touch with your parents and your ancestors, and figure out how to share more of what’s going on in your life. There’s a real loneliness around you: some of it is your partner; some of it is your own tendency toward privacy; and some of it is your own creativity applied to the problem of excuse. Really, it’s ok: Work is a dumpster fire, you friends’ network is going through a shake-up, and you’re dealing with things never covered in any part of your education. Don’t be defined only by who your romantic partner is or isn’t; or how much money they have — you have knowledge and ability to strike out on your own, and your extended family has the highest admiration for you, which counts for more than you know.
Leo: Schedule some fun time, no matter how limited it may be, in order to get the best from your self. You may find that your financial prospects advance by carrying someone else’s banner forward a few feet, and by burying your own goals for a little while. Some solo time with your colored pens and journal bring benefit; so does a dedicated period of time with a female friend or two where there’s a longstanding allyship. Work is going to be a daily grind on the one hand, an ongoing revolution on the other. You’re going to have to cancel some longstanding travel plans, though; they’ll be difficult to cut, but you’re more likely to meet ill by moonlight than grace.
Virgo: Bad news about career or reputation got you down? Feel like a personal best has been buried in bad news or an too-motherly review of your productivity? Take time on your own to fill out the ‘business model canvas‘ to think how you can raise your own standards and bring in some extra dollars too. Help a friend try to unpack and understand a legacy from the past that they’re wrestling with; encourage any partners to be extra-creative at their job-site, if they must leave the house. For your own daily practice, consider revolutionizing your regular workflow, and pay attention to the forces that tax your preferred pleasures. Anyone whom you share a roof with, may be getting on your nerves — consider a sit-down and a discussion on how to create your dream household together and smooth out the ripples in your interdependence.
Libra: You are the average of the friends you spend time with, and as a result you’re becoming … mean? Is that possible? You need to find a third or a fourth, to discover a happier medium. Some of it may be the way you’re burning through your cash reserves in ways that likely benefit a partner or a potential partner more than they help you. A little secret accounting and re-budgeting would do you a world of good. So would a little less time on the phone with relatives. On the other hand, your home could use a few extra bucks for sprucing up, as long as your housemates if any agree to share costs and labor. A friend pays cash for your help with a side project. A legacy program or initiative at work can be revived with your unique gifts to look at these things two different ways.
Scorpio: You’re clearest about who you are these days when you’re on your own, working through your own work-processes, with your own happiness in mind. Anybody actually letting you do that, though? It’s clear that you’re going to have to earn more money than you currently do; the combination of ‘need’ and ‘actually get’ is becoming obvious to all. It would be nice if family actually treated your resources (and resourcefulness) as your own, instead of committing your time and labor to this or that, usually in unpleasant ways. But some of it is your own lack of clarity about desire — until you straighten out what you want your home and family to look like, it’s going to be hard to achieve it, and the more your relationship (real or imagined) is going to be disrupted by your daily labors. At least recognize that the time has come to raise your professional standards: and probably your professional rates, too.
I now have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it begins its second year.
I use iPhemeris for my charting software, and screenshot it to make charts. I want to thank the team that develops iPhemeris for the addition of Terms and Decans to their charts, appearing here for the first time!
I use Christopher Warnock‘s The Mansions of the Moon as the basis of my Moon placement delineations, and Austin Coppock‘s 36 Faces as the basis of much of my planetary delineations. Neither gentleman endorses me. My own book, A Full Volume of Splendour and Starlight, is now available as PDF download from my Etsy website.
Any errors in these columns are my own.
If you’d like to schedule a consultation with me, you can find additional information on the Services and Classes page.
If you want to read some of my other astrologically-oriented poetry, To the Mansions of the Moon is a collection of hymns to the angels of the Mansions mentioned in these columns. For the Behenian Stars is a collection of hymns to the first/brightest sixteen stars. The Sun’s Paces are hymns to the thirty-six Hellenistic-era deities and ascended souls of the Greco-Egyptian Decans-calendar. While not astrological, Festae contains hymns to some of the older Roman gods and spirits from the calendar created by Numa Pompilius, the second ancient King of Rome.