Sun in Cancer III

The horoscopes of Decan I of any sign are free to everyone, but Decans II and III are available to supporters of my Patreon account at the $3 or greater tiers. Your generosity through other means, like Ko-fi or PayPal opens the column to any potential readers. You can also schedule an appointment with me using Accuity Scheduling, for a natal or solar return consultation. My Almanac is also available! It’s for sale through my Etsy website as a PDF.

Once the clock strikes 10:55 pm EDT on July 11, 2021, the Sun will have entered the third decan of Cancer — what Austin Coppock called The Overflowing Cup, in his book on the Decans — and which tarotista T. Susan Chang informs us is associated with the Four of Cups. In Pamela Colman Smith’s design, a young man sits beneath a tree like a would-be Buddha, watching an invisible hand present him with a cup; this chalice will likely join the other four on the ground in front of him. Another Tarot deck based on popular Zen stories illustrates this with a famous Zen master filling the cup, and over filling the cup, of a student who has claimed enlightenment without being enlightened.

Circular astrological chart for July 11, 2021 at 10:54 pm EDT over western Massachusetts: Ascendant at 14° Pisces, Sun at 20° Pisces, Moon at 14° Leo (approx).  Night chart, North node in Gemini.

The third decan of Cancer belongs to the Moon as its chief administrator, and we’re looking at a night chart. However, the Moon and the Sun both share the same hemisphere of the sky, the private or unconscious realms below the horizon. Ordinarily, this would be a bad thing — but the Moon and the Sun are in a state of mutual reception, with the Sun in Cancer and the Moon in Leo — each is acting as host to the other, and favoring one another with their presence as a guest.

The moment is made more extraordinary by an upcoming conjunction of Venus with Mars, which the Moon will briefly conjoin, just a few hours after the start of the decan. Mars by himself in Leo would be peregrine and yet fierce and fiery; but since at least Marsilio Ficino in the late 1480s AD, the approach of Venus was said to make Mars’s courage and anger both more gentle and more kind. The Moon makes this conjunction richer, giving body to this meeting of the planets in a sensual way. Their union occurs at 19° Leo, but they’ll be less than a degree apart for all of July 11-12-13-14, casting their romantic light into all the various houses of the chart. They’re also far enough away from the Sun at this point that they should be visible as evening stars on the western horizon at sundown: mighty and masculine Mars framed by an older and younger woman in the forms of Venus and the Moon.

Ahem. Back to the chart at hand.

The cosmopolitan and sophisticated residents of Alexandria, Egypt in the first century BC gave these last ten days of Cancer to the mistress of magic and queen of the three-fold crossroads, Hekate. Numerous other people have done much more work with this deity of secret knowledge than I have — Jason Miller has an elaborate course on the sorcery of Hekate which is available, for example; I haven’t taken it, but he’s received numerous endorsements from people who are worth paying attention to (and the class starts tomorrow — if you think that maybe you should take it, don’t delay!)

But I’m not going to say much about Hecate/Hekate in this column; others are carrying her torch far more clearly and cleanly right now than I can do justice to her. All I can say is that you should acknowledge her as one of the foundational deities of the magical arts if you practice that way, and recognize her at this time of year.

For my own part, I’m doing my third Decans Walk, and Hekate is the last decan of my year. I began this column with Leo I back in 2019, and in 2020 I approached Cancer III in this way. Now I’m coming back to it, I hope, as a better astrologer, a better magician, and a better guide to the future and to an alternative way of sitting with time and space. And it’s a good time to acknowledge my teachers (formally and informally, through writing or video or podcast, and only rarely through direct instruction) in these arts, people like Jason Miller and John Michael Greer, Gordon White, and the host of the Astrology Podcast Chris Brennan (with cohosts for the monthly forecast, Kelly Surtees and Austin again); and Christopher Warnock, whose books and courses in astrology helped get me started; along with Rufus Opus, whose books and courses taught me something of conjuration.

I list out my regular sources of learning on these subjects here, because I think it’s fair, under the banner of Hecate, to acknowledge some of my teachers in the art who are still in the lands of the living. To them I could add Gareth Knight, Israel Regardie, John Dee, H.C. Agrippa, the author of Picatrix, Mashallah, Abu Mashar, Ibn Sahl (thank you, Benjamin Dykes!), and numerous other astrologers and writers from whom I’ve learned geomancy and astrology and magic.

The Moon presides over these ten days, as I was saying — and she’s in mutual reception with the Sun in Cancer even while she holds court from Leo’s bright daylight and steady flame. For the luminaries to be in such accord is joyous and lovely, and I believe they wish us all well.

The dodecatemoria of Cancer III are Pisces, Aries, Taurus and Gemini — the mysticism of wholeness and interrelationship turns into the fire of the solitary practice, the gradual development of comfort and groundedness in the pursuit of our practices, and finally the emergence of a new and practical duality as we discover what it is that we’re about. In a sense, this is the journey of the magician and the divine experience of Hecate encapsulated: from the primordial waters comes the new spark of being; from the new spark comes a new earth, and a new heaven.

May the year ahead be kind to us all.

Planetary Positions

With the Sun below the horizon, we’re looking at a night chart, but with the Moon below the horizon as well, we’re looking at a dark sky in which Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto are the only planets above the horizon. Jupiter is Angular, later in the signs by Zodiacal order, and in the first house, which would normally give him great status, overpowering Saturn. However, Jupiter is retrograde, and getting ready to rejoin Saturn in Aquarius before the end of the month. More than this, Saturn is said “to take his joy” in the twelfth house, and is harsher when retrograde as he is now — and he’s also square to Uranus in Taurus, bringing a harshness to familial upheavals, and upheavals to solitary time. This is going to be apparently in the writing of this column, shorter than usual — hard to get writing time when Saturn is squatting on your familial responsibilities and restricting writing time, as he is in my chart right now! Pluto is retrograde in Capricorn, bringing questions of accumulation and toxity to friendships and community relationships.

Below the horizon, the threesome of Moon, Venus and Mars occupies the sixth house. Mars is about to be in his own decan, giving him a slight advantage in a few days. For now he’s peregrine like the other two, a tourist making love on his honeymoon. BUT — Mars takes his joy in the sixth, and he’s in opposition to Saturn in the twelfth. It might be that this innocent tourist is actually a spy or assassin out to make trouble while appearing to be on a mission of love. The Moon is not in the highly beneficent Tenth Mansion, but the Eleventh, which is somewhat less magnanimous and more concerned with instilling shock and awe in rivals and potential foes. A friend of mine dated a woman for a period of time who came with a chaperone for the first several dates — a forbidding and stern-faced auntie who was determined to prevent all flirting, much less hanky or panky. Mars and Venus’ encounter might be understood to be a sexual encounter, but it’s more likely to be one where cock-blocking by a fastidious and sneering chaperone is at the core of the experience. The conjunction takes place in the Laurel Wreath, the middle decan of Leo, suggesting temporary honors rather than lasting fame. No lasting love comes from this encounter — and Mars is likely to make more challenging mischief than sexual conquest this time around.

I note with some dismay that Mars in the Sixth House and Saturn in the Twelfth House, opposing one another, is a historical recipe for ill news. Saturn loves putting people in isolation and quarantine; and Mars loves bringing people fevers, illnesses, and accidents. This combination is a rough one, as it raises the stature of both malefic planets over even Jupiter, who would normally have pride of place in this chart as the ruler of the Ascendant in his own sign, and rising above the horizon.

Coming to the Ascendant, dividing Jupiter from Neptune in Pisces, we realize that all but Mars of the outer planets are currently retrograde — Earth’s shorter, faster course has brought our mother around the Sun far faster than they are moving, and consequently they appear to move backwards against the stars (when they are visible at all). Jupiter finds it necessary to go back over its prior decisions and review its decision-making process in the face of new information; Neptune reveals various panaceas as placebos, barely better than background measures for good health.

Uranus in Taurus brings disruption to family picnics this summer, and promises quarrels between lovers: Square to the Moon, Mars and Venus on one side, and square to Saturn on the other, Uranus puts a great deal of focus on the troubles of academia and the tourism industry — a whole lot of crud may be about to come tumbling down.

North Node in Gemini brings us a desire and longing to stay at home in the hybrid conditions of work and play intermingled, but very soon now there’s going to be a huge bite to that experience — a tumble in the commervcial real estate market is possible, but a fair number of bosses eager to direct their staffs and teams again in ugly ways. The South Node in Sagittarius’s middle decan The Bridle reminds us that there are consequences to riding a horse too hard and too hot, and some roughness may emerge.

Mercury and the Sun occupy the first and third decans of Cancer at this point, in the house of pleasures and happinesses — I think we may see people enjoying themselves for the first time in months, in these ten days. However they are likely to do so in small and quiet ways. Additionally, communication is taking place as between a mother and child: nurturing and caring, but cautious about the wider word: “are you vaccinated?” “Are you?” “Are you hugging?” “No, not yet. Maybe later?” The Sun is approaching its opposition with Pluto, offering challenges between our own pursuits and the expectations of our friends to live large.

Horoscopes by Rising Sign

Pisces: Ruling Jupiter is present, angular, and above the horizon though he’d prefer to be below. You have a chance to be the leader right now, although your own desires may pull you from career achievements to a more home-body life; that’s where your heart is, right now, after all. Workplace romances and dramas kick up — are you the stick in the mud, the third wheel, or the cock-blocker? Are you the earnest ingenue? Or are you the glory-hound in search of new adventure. It’s said that in academia, the arguments are so ferocious because the rewards are so meager; bear that in mind as you pick through the current landscapes. Recognize that you have significant expertise in the field, and you could possibly go it alone — but that would require a higher commitment of time and energy than you may be willing to expend.

Aries: Ruling Mars is trine, cadent, peregrine and below the horizon with the Moon, though he’d prefer to be above. You’re about to take on a significant role, but there’s a chance to earn one last laurel the old fashioned way. Just be sure that it’s worth it; be gentle in your approach, even if you’re feeling aggressive about completing this one last task. Money matters take a priority, but recognize that you will benefit from tracking your own income and expenses more carefully and particularly. Home matters are highlighted, and benefit from a more earnest level of communication from you.

Taurus: Ruling Venus is square, cadent, peregrine and below the horizon with the Moon, though she’d prefer to be above. You’re about to make home in a new place, and your gut feeling is that all will be great, but you can’t shake a nagging suspicion that it might not be. Both your good fortune, and the boundaries of your comfort zone, feel constricted or challenged in some fashion. You’re about to be surrounded by a lot of friends… but it also feels like your’e popping your bubble. Take some precautions, and limit how much interacton you actually get.

Gemini: Ruling Mercury is inconjunct, succedent, and co-present with the Sun below the horizon. Financial matters are going to get out of control without your hand on the wheel; be sure to shepherd your long-term dreams as well as your immediate desires. A romance in the family could benefit from your light advisory capacities; but you can also choose a heavy-handed approach if you think it’s bad for the person you care most about. Give some thought to your career plans this week, but don’t go for the pie-in-the-sky; what is the next step you should take? Get the next cup from the cloud, not the perfect rainbow.

Cancer: Ruling Moon is inconjunct and cadent and peregrine, below the horizon when she’d prefer to be above but also in mutual reception with the Sun. Your gut reaction and your higher insight are probably in tune with one another right now, and you are likely able to speak your truth with clarity and ease. Money troubles and anxieties may keep you from doing things you love, and may cause trouble with a partner’s family. Be aware that there may be some one sleeping alone on the couch this week, if their behaviors have been less than aboveboard; truth is always discovered, no matter how much you disguise it. A financial transaction isn’t going to go as smoothly as planned, and some travel arrangements may become more complicated than your suitcase allows for: pack extra.

Leo: Ruling Sun is inconjunct and succedent and peregrine but in mutual reception with the Moon. Things seem to be at sixes and sevens right now; you’re getting mixed signals from a lover or a potential lover, but circumstances prevent a true connection for the moment. It’s worth considering if you’re a short-term belt-notch or a genuine candidate for the diamond tiara; are you being sought for yourself, or for your bank account? (that said, your partner’s current emergency is not a good way to judge if you’re with a gold-digger or a genuine lover — consider the whole relationship, not just the present crisis, ok?). Be generous where you can be, but don’t go farther than you genuinely can. A review of your current work habits by an employer or supervisor may go badly; get your files in order and know what and where the problems are; have plans to fix them, even if that means shifting some of your work elsewhere.

Virgo: Ruling Mercury is sextile, succedent and peregrine, and below the horizon copresent with the Sun. A partner’s issues require you to come between the hammer and anvil. If there’s any nookie in the next ten days, it’s likely to be solo or with the help of a Zoom camera to a faraway destination. Your home life comes under some scrutiny, while your career options may open up with a dream offer that comes with some substantial strings attached. A partner is trying to assert authority while also being ‘all over the place’ in terms of not hewing to their own principles. Sound out a friend and get some focused advice.

Libra: Ruling Venus is sextile, cadent and peregrine, below the horizon when she’d prefer to be above. You may find yourself jealous of a friend’s new flirtatious behaviors toward a co-worker or colleague; or the stories about escapades in the office supply closet. Things aren’t always as they seem, though. For your own part, clean up the chemistry under the sink, and take stock of your kingdom at your workplace: hold on to what you have, and be particular and clear about taking on what isn’t your responsibility. A financial obligation you hold with others causes trouble; own your part of it in full, and be prepared to be generous… but don’t let others force you to foot the whole bill.

Scorpio: Ruling Mars is square, cadent and peregrine, copresent with the Moon but preferring to be above the horizon than below. You’ll need to spend some time on personal happiness these ten days, but be aware that it is easy to overdo it: go far enough to enjoy yourself, but not so far that you forget your boundaries. Try to do this on a low or even free budget – you might get a cheapskate reputation, but you have responsibilities and big dreams now, and you can accept a lock on your wallet for now. A partner faces some sort of crisis: sex may help, but don’t push it as the perfect solution. Also… your workplace may face accusations of sexual impropriety: don’t be the focus of the investigation if you can help it.

Sagittarius: Ruling Jupiter is angular but square, in a sign he rules. You may win an argument with a client: they’ll know you’re right, but resent you for being clear about the truth. You can try to soften the blow, but it’s best to take the lumps for now, and find more love with a partner in a dreamed-of scenario. Home responsibilities expand, but a lack of clarity about boundaries can require a lot of washing up. A partner (business or romantic) gets to hammer a few career goals into a clear shape; your light-hearted insight and casual communication will help more than a targeted meeting to force them into the mold. You may hope for some romance on an upcoming trip, but it’s likely to be stymied somehow.

Capricorn: Ruling Saturn is inconjunct and cadent, but in a house where he takes his joy. A focus on relationships may take your mind off some high-level reviews of your decision-making in the past. Your career benefits from you taking a few risks on ambitious creative endeavors. But don’t expect this to translate into benefits to your take-home pay right away. Remember to put in for your eligible expenses, or lose the extra cash! Try not to be envious of all the romance all around you: things aren’t always as they seem. You’re not being left out.

Aquarius: Ruling Saturn is present and cadent, but in a house where he takes his joy. Isolation and quarantine play to his strengths and his capacity to wallow in lonely misery. The Lot of Fortune brings favor to this solo strategic choice this week. A romantic getaway may be foiled by an older woman who challenges impropriety. Home goes through upheavals; sensual experiences may be limited in the face of unrelenting heat of the wrong kind. If you’re in a polyamorous relationship, try not to be too jealous of your partner’s current successes; at the same time, be prepared to offer sound advice and to overrule dumb choices.


I have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it approaches the end of its second year (I began with Leo I in 2019 )We’re currently doing a decan walk through some Tarot, astrology, mythology, and magic. If you don’t want to become a regular patron, you can also buy me a Ko-fi in $3 increments, and any column I write after receiving a Ko-Fi donation will be open to the public.  You can also schedule an appointment with me using Accuity Scheduling, for a natal or solar return consultation.

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 Hugh Tran‘s Physis typeface to craft logos for this blog, as well.

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, as is my Almanac for 2021. 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.

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