Back in 2019, I began this column in Leo I, which means it’s been a year since I began writing this column, and I’m now beginning my second year. I’ve launched a Patreon account to help support this writing effort (and to pay the other creators whom I support, including Tony Brown, Austin Coppock, Angi Shearstone, Rex Kreuger and others). It’s now 2020, and I’m planning on continuing this column for another year. If you’ve found it helpful, and you’re willing to support these ongoing efforts, I’m asking for $3 a month, or $1 a column for a year. If you’re interested in my services as an astrologer, you can arrange for a consultation.
For now, let’s turn to the First Decan of Leo, which Austin Coppock called The Spotlight. It begins on July 22 at 4:37 am EDT, with the Ascendant in the middle degrees of Cancer. Ruled by Saturn (presently in a sign of its rulership, Capricorn), the decan invites us to step under the stage lights and present ourselves for the consideration of an audience. You’d best have some level of mastery for this work before you step forward, though — claiming the spotlight also requires some level of responsibility to know what you’ll say before you step under the lights and claim the audience’s time.
The Greco-Roman era gave these ten days to Vulcan, the artisan and master smith of the gods. Renowned as the forger of Jupiter’s thunderbolts, and Neptune’s trident, he’s less celebrated as the manufacturer of Venus’s jewels, and his own motorized chair, as well as robots to assist him in his forge and studio under Mount Aetna in Sicily. To the ancient Greeks and Romans, craft was a sweaty activity, driven by water-power, muscle-power and the heat released from burning wood (itself cut and stacked by muscle power). This Decan, then, is a place of action and of labor — claiming the spotlight requires us to do something, not simply talk about it. Even if we’re only posing and modeling, we’d best be showing off the physique and grace gained by training and effort — just as I’m attempting to show you in my writing, really. Quality work demands recognition and reward, and the amateur or the lazybones should be booed off the stage.
The entry of the Sun to Leo puts three planets in their rulership placements — the Sun in Leo, Saturn in Capricorn, and Mars in Aries — and the sudden illumination will throw issues of money, career and relationships into sharp focus. All of the other planets and placements are ruled by one of these three powers (and mostly Saturn and the Sun), indicating that we are lighting our way through the next ten days with our own resourcefulness, as our relationships are left out in the cold and our careers burn. Not fun.
We begin with the Ascendant in Cancer, a cool and emotional state from which to approach the world. For ourselves, it’s necessary for the next ten days to maintain a hard-shelled approach to ourselves and our home — to put on the mask, to keep visitors out of our houses, and to establish boundaries or bubbles or pods around the people that we care about. Inside this fence, we can and should encourage all the lushness and richness and luxury we can muster. Beyond the fence, assume the worst and gear up appropriately. Communicate clearly about your guidelines and expectations, and be creative about how you uphold your boundaries.
Mercury also holds court in Cancer, in the decan they rule called The Walled Garden. Our communications skills should be employed in the service of our selves and our needs — establishing boundaries and creating rich and nurturing internal environments for our emotional flourishing and personal intellectual goals at this time. The communications and business that we transact with others should be wall-like, though: limited and bounded, with only careful and circumspect allowances for things to pass in or out. On the one hand, this may sound deeply selfish. On the other hand, we are passing through a time when no one else will look out for your interests. Manage your expectations, and place your trust, with due consideration and careful judgment.
Both Sun and Moon occupy Leo and the Second House. The Sun has just crossed into the only sign that it rule. For the moment it also rules the Moon, which is just a bit past the New Moon on Monday, but still in Leo. The Sun in Leo is proud, in command, in control, competent and capable. As Leo is presently the second house, it demonstrates our attention to our finances, moveable goods, and personal property. All of us had better get to roaring our disapproval, protecting what is ours and intimidating those who would take from us; at the same time, we must be prepared to hunt for what we want — none of us can expect to have an easy time finding what we want and need in the world. The Moon occupies the early degrees of the third decan, called The Banner, indicating that we have a responsibility to put another’s banner forward. By its own ‘zodiac’, the Mansions of the Moon or manazil system, the Moon is placed in the Eleventh Mansion (tropically), called The Mane of Leo, where our charisma and charm are on full display. It’s nice to be in the spotlight, but that requires us to provide good value for the prestige placement on stage. By sidereal placements, the Moon holds the middle parts of the Ninth Mansion, called The Glance, which invites both disempowerment and frustration. Remember that charm and charisma are rarely enough to win all financial battles; be aware that misfortune stalks us all right now, and our material wealth may be laboring under structural infirmity.
The Imum Coeli, or bottom of the sky, is in the third decan of Virgo. This placement, ruled by Mercury, is called The Sarcophagus — chances are that there’s someone in your neighborhood, or in your family, that is undergoing the transformation of death in the next ten days — possibly due to COVID-19, possibly due to other circumstances. Square to the nodal positions in the 12th and 6th houses, the IC is rarely a physical thing, so much as a ream or a concern — a lot of lonely people at work or in the hospital or in the prisons are in serious health right now.
We come next to the South Node in Sagittarius and the sixth house, promising less work than usual for the centaur-sign, and a certain amount of overbearing focus on a few narrow issues to the detriment of all else. The corresponding North Node in Gemini in the 12th house promises that the Twins will be delivering fortune and solitude in the times ahead.
Three retrograde planets occupy the wilds of Capricorn, seated upon the decan called The Throne. Manifestly displaying the power of The Other in our lives right now, the trio of Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn promise that legal, political, and social threats are likely to sway, convince or coerce people back to work, to jobs, and to relationships that no longer serve well. All such matters should be up for review, relationships included, for as long as the Throne is occupied by this fearsome trio. Romance will be difficult, and though there is potential for grace, there is far more opportunity to review old failures and difficulties, and re-fight old arguments.
In the ninth house, the Midheaven and Neptune hold up the oceanic night together, tenting the abyss above us. They point a trident, or a dagger, at heaven, and try to draw blood from the gods themselves though without success — the mission is too broad, the target too lofty, and what goes up must also come down. A series of sextiles to Jupiter and Saturn entangle these two planets here with squares to the North Node and the Lot of Fortune — some are likely to come to a bad end, here. Neptune’s presence in this third decan, The Cup Of Blood, indicates the appearance of fake news in the medical realm, and the confusion of conflicting information from unreliable sources in a matter of personal concern and utmost urgency. However, the widening gap between Neptune and the Midheaven prompts a necessary review of prior medical decisions. As the Lord of Waters proceeds along his retrograde course into the middle decan of Pisces in the late summer, expect vast quantities of fake news to return to the digital headlines in pursuit of an election with no obvious or welcome victor.
Mars, occupying his own sign of Aries and riding high in the sky, promises rewards for assertive (perhaps aggressive?) action in the realms of your career and search for public honors. Squares to the Descendant and the Ascendant create additional discordant notes between your career goals, your personal safety, and the strength of your relationship, which may experience some turbulence between the joys of conjugal benefits, and the practical realities that someone, sooner or later, is going to have to leave the house for extended periods of time. A boss or supervisor is likely to offer painful choices between cutting ties and burning away your safety protocols. Some choices are devil’s bargains: take care as the sparks fly.
In the realm of friends and acquaintances, and the strength of loose ties with professional associates, Uranus the revolutionary creates upheaval among our normally comfortable friendships. Someone is in the process of becoming a metaphorical bomb-thrower, while others are making revolutionary arrangements concerning their marriage bed and their capacities for romance and love. A sextile to Mercury promises non-binary connections to friends, as well as the challenges of two polarities: “It’s them or me!” spoken in anger, as well as “It’s neither them nor you” in sadness. The stressors of the last four months of isolation begin to crack up friendships and transform networks of friends; this is the beginning, but not the end, of a long-range realignment of what ‘friendship’ really means to you.
Finally, in the twelfth house we come upon The North Node, The Lot of Fortune, and dawn-treading Venus. The queen of planets dances and lip-synchs her way through a drag-queen routine (or perhaps a drag-king routine) in the decan called The Hermaphrodite, where she promises a relatively easy entry to the realms of non-duality. In this sign ruled by Mercury, and decan ruled by Mars but a term ruled by Venus, she is more femme than masc, more enby than femme, but presents a radical rethinking of your solo sexperience in creative pursuits in quarantine: the man takes up sewing; the woman does a little carpentry; the cooking and cleaning falls to him for a change, and the bread-winning may be hers. Be aware that some role reversal is good for us right now. However, both the North Node and the Sign of Fortune promise that our best work, and our luckiest successes, will start in the execution. Fail not in your duty: shine a spotlight with laser focus on the work that must be done, and bring the sword down cleanly. Shirk not the duty of the hour and the moment.
Rising Sign Horoscopes
Cancer: Financial matters should be put under bright lights this week, and studied before end of business on Wednesday, if at all possible. Your partner if you have one is likely outgassing waves of unpleasantness due to job concerns — and an aggressive supervisor is probably making trouble for you at work. Dreams of family are aided by a recent trip or unexpected visit from far-off relations. You likely have fewer responsibilities than usual, but there’s more of an institutional requirement to show up and be counted; find ways to use that time both creatively and coherently. Work hard on telling yourself, reminding yourself, what you know to be true.
Leo: You’ve got the stage, and the microphone, at last. Now you have to figure out what you’re going to use this moment to say — and you’l have to figure out how to put your money behind your mouth at the same time. This is not an occasion to revert to reporting only your own ideas, either — remember to cite your sources, or you’ll be talking to an empty house. Good fortune is to be found, though, in making more of an effort to connect the right friends to each other — your best results will be found in playing the role of maker-of-alliances. There’s a chance someone will offer you a surprise job, but a lot of travel will be required: you’ll have to decide if the risk is worth it. Your partner may be working on a heavy assignment at work, which is both rewarding and requires a lot of time being the leader-without-authority.
Virgo: You may be experiencing visions (or nightmares) of violence in your neighborhood, or a rising body-count among your intimate friends and relations; and your concern for your wider circle of friends is likely rising fast, even as you focus on earning money and trying to make sense of your income and expenses in a crisis-time. If you have a partner, their hobbies and pastimes may be eating a lot of energy in your household — a serious talk about their secretive ways may be in order, especially if addictive or obsessive behaviors have come to the surface. A legacy project at work is dumped in your lap — complete this and you’ll be crowned with all kinds of new authority; let it linger and it will spiral out of control.
Libra: Stay home, though everyone is telling you to go out. Use the time for distance-learning, for practicing your hobbies, for developing your garden, for learning to live within narrower means. Your career may take an upswing from this, and your friends will shine a light on your foresight and attention to the genuine limits of the present moment. At the same time, don’t expect everything to be easy: invest in a good chair if you have to work from home, and establish new rules with any domestic partners you may have for better household management. If they won’t accept new rules you may have to cut them out, even if it causes an upset to your financial patterns. Communicate your fears and concerns to your co-workers and supervisors as well, but put your own career needs first in the next ten days.
Scorpio: You’re having a lot of fun in your private ways right now, but there’s a need to link your hobbies and pastimes to actual work that lights your reputation and career trajectory a little more clearly. This may involve taking less money for some projects, and accepting a certain amount of crap when dealing with a partner’s family or social circle. You may find that some bad habits are not giving you the high they used to, and some realignment of your mind-expanding (or brain-destroying) habits is in order: these journeys are leading toward medically-dangerous depths. Is it impossible to buckle down and work on your actual projects, and see them through to completion? Sometimes you just have to sit down and see it through, really. If you have any ‘friends with benefits’, you can expect a certain amount of restructuring of that relationship in the near future.
Sagittarius: It’s probably on your mind that you have less work than you should right now, and your usual techniques for whipping up some new clients aren’t working. The result is a certain amount of moping or brooding on the throne, which upsets any romantic or business partners you may have: an unhappy sovereign is a poor recipe for success. You can improve conditions with a focus on the household, and the restoration of order within it. Then, dedicate some energy toward those hobbies and activities that feed your fire, but which other people recognize you for pursuing. Reorganize your workflow when it comes to projects you’re doing for friends; and put some energy toward your partners (business or romantic) so they feel less alone. Finally, shine some light on your educational and health goals for the year, and start pursuing them in a more orderly way.
Capricorn: To all intents and purposes right now, you’re the power behind the throne— at work, in relationships, at home, and in bringing home the cash that pays your way in the world. This is a kind of peak power, and it provides you with a chance to be both generous and cruel. Try to review your actions through a lens of responsibility, and filter out some of your worst ‘first thought’ behaviors that may have venomous results later on. Private, domestic meanness of spirit or action in particular should be avoided, as it’s likely to become public knowledge before long. Recognize that your partner may be going through a time when their rich internal emotional life may be closed off to your awareness or intervention, it’s a good time to ask questions and wait to be invited in — you may learn a few things that are worth knowing about your partner and yourself.
Aquarius: You’re probably thinking about the legacies you’ve inherited, and which you now have the charge of sorting out and managing — possibly on behalf of your partner who may to be able to cope. Financial matters may be creating challenges beyond your ability to cope; ask for help earlier than you think you need. A man in your family or in your circle of intimates is reacting to present circumstances with a greater degree of aggression or fury than is needed or wanted. Direct that energy away from home by making your household a more comfortable and sensual container — and insisting that energy be left on the front porch. Your solo efforts are bringing much happiness, but tends to be solitary work even when it’s providing you luck and good fortune; expect a turnaround in the matter of friends in the near future — even socially distanced visits would be good right now.
Pisces: Blood tells, and right now it’s telling you that to get charge of your life you’re going to have to run away from certain responsibilities, and take up others more aligned with your career goals and long-range public plans. However, your finances may be a bit of a dumpster-fire, and you might have to stick around long enough to get your business matters in order, and to sort out legal and economic responsibilities to a business partner and their friends you’d rather be free of. Without putting a proper focus on your career and your reputation for long-range survivability, your short-term options are likely to be limited in unfavorable ways. Expect that there will be conflict about sorting out your arrangements with old partners, but it’s best to face that and learn to manage the emotional stress in order to improve your long-term well-being.
Aries: You’re probably fired up and ready to get all sorts of things done, especially if they relate to your career… it’s just that this brings about certain conflicts, most clearly with your romantic partner (if any) and your own sense of self. Is this new job really something you want? Are your communications skills really up to snuff for this new assignment (join Toastmasters?)? Your usual financial chicanery is in need of an overhaul, though, especially with the upheavals among your social networks caused by COVID-19 and the teargas in the streets. Comfortable relationships are in turmoil, and it’s not getting better soon.
Taurus: This long-term re-design of yourself is wearing you down, I’m sure, but there are certain truths that you haven’t come to terms with yet. One of them is that you have to become more responsible and creative around money, and that’s going to create a divide between how you do business and how you do fun. It’s likely to cause stressful communications with your siblings, and delay your plans for a home of your own — even as the need for a home of your own feels more intense and less secure than ever. Your romantic partner, if any, is being secretive and sullen, even as they feel more distant. They still love you, but their attentions are focused on faraway events beyond that are only nominally under their control. You’re going to have to exert more energy to get the independence you seem to need right now, but this also means accepting a more fluid approach to “chilling with friends” than you’re used to.
Gemini: More alone than usual, or feeling that way? It’s OK — this is the way that leads to you becoming more creative, more coherent, more attuned to yourself. It’s all right to lean into the state of solitude, and to dream the ‘new you’ that could be born in the next ten days. Among other things, this means getting attuned to your emotional life in relative peace, even as you sort out how your commitment to “buying local” (or not) is having an effect on your community or your extended family. A partner, if you have one in either business or romance, is wrestling with a sense of inadequacy or not living up to standards — especially as it comes to providing for a partner or managing a shared portfolio of wealth. The confusion and challenges surrounding your career goals may feel especially galling this week — it’s worth investigating your educational options as a remedial step, but don’t pay for any online classes just yet; this is a survey of choices, not the best point for the making of a decision.
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.