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.
July 22, 2021 sees the hammer come down at 10:26 am EDT — as the Sun passes from the night realms of Hekate to the volcano-tinged forge of Hephastios, the smith-god of the Greek pantheon where daylight is filtered through a cloud of embers and the floating particulates of iron floating up from the cherry-red heated metal. We are in the heat of the summer now.
The Sun is above the horizon, making this a Day Chart, and giving significance to Saturn and Jupiter. However, the two strong day-sect planets are both below the horizon in the realms of night, leaving much of the work to Mercury in the second decan of Cancer — their administrative bailiwick. As the Lord of the Ascendant and Lord of the Midheaven, the herald-planet has much work to do in these next ten days, and fewer resources than normal fo doing them. The widening gap between Venus and Mars gives the warrior-planet considerable authority, but takes an almost equal amount of dignity from the creative queen in the next ten days.
The Sun is in the sign of his rulership, though, and in a day chart that gives him substantial dignity — for the next 30-ish days, this also puts the Sun in direct opposition by sign with Saturn, who is also in the sign of his rulership. We thus have brightness and power, intellect and youthful activity, all at their strongest; contrasted with sternness and discipline, experience and wisdom, harshness and age’s weariness, also at their strongest. It’s a rough combination where both the Sun and Saturn are in places of power, and contending with one another for the shape of the next ten days. The Sun has a slight advantage, being in the decan administered by Saturn, and so having some additional administrative authority over Saturn for the time being.
Austin Coppock called this decan The Spotlight, and it is a place where expertise is on display and expected to perform. The association with Hephaestus carries some of that same energy — the master of his craft demonstrating his utmost that he’s still got it. T. Susan Chang notes the association of this decan with the five of wands — a place where a group of men practice their fighting arts with staves, demonstrating their power and skill to one another. Irene Glasse invites us in her reflection at this time to consider how we’re shapeshifting, and preparing to come out of the solitudes of the last year. What we practice, we become — and now the spotlight prepares to shine on us.
I’ve explored the theme of Hephaestus elsewhere in these columns, but here he’s not a lover but a creator — except that there’s plenty of overlap between the creative action and the romantic state of being. Expertise and masterwork is celebrated in this decan — the creative genius that knows what they’re doing, whether on stage or in their workshop. It’s hard to avoid developing skills of competence and grace — do any one thing long enough, and you’re bound to get good at it. It’s just that… it’s hard to move from mere competence to mastery, from dabbling to adept-ship. Hephaestus puts that skill-set to work: practice, invent, try new things, develop new skills. You can’t help but get better. It’s a useful reminder, too, that John Cage came up with a set of rules for creativity, and one of those rules is “don’t throw anything away; it may become useful, later.” That should be our attitude this week: master some new skills, develop some new talents, and save the work for later: it may come in useful eventually.
With the Sun above the horizon, we’re looking at a Day Chart, giving greater power to the day-sect of planets: Jupiter, Saturn, and the Sun. All three planets are in signs that they rule, creating a three-way tug-of-war between the political, the ethical, and the natural worlds. The Sun is in the day sky, giving it greater authority than usual to urge us to adopt plans for the highest and best; but it’s in the twelfth house where its potential is limited. Jupiter is in the seventh house, where he has considerable sway; but he’s also retrograde and just ten days out from re-entering Aquarius. Saturn is both cadent and retrograde, limiting his capacity to cause trouble; but also in a sign he rules. Since I must rank them, I think that the political here — what are human beings doing? — tends to outweigh slightly what humans should be doing or what natural processes are in play. Human activity will trump nature for the moment.
The Ascendant is in Virgo III The Sarcophagus, ruled and administered by Mercury in Cancer. Some things will have to die these next ten days, in order to be transformed into something new and useful. Be on the watch for opportunities to let go of communications and network connections that don’t serve you very well, and transform that into new circumstances and maneuvering room. Venus is present in the first house, but in fall in Virgo where she becomes overly analytical and critical. Questions about your code of conduct in relationships (whether for business or pleasure) may arise; it’s best to address these in the moment.
In the fourth house representing home and family life, The South Node and The Imum Coeli put a great deal of pressure on concepts of house and home. You may find yourself ‘pushing rope’ trying to get things done around the house and not succeeding well; but also finding that your dreams and plans for house and home are wrestling with some difficulties around a lack of boundaries or too much water.
In the fifth house of pleasure and of children, the Moon and Pluto each wrestle with complicated matters in practical Capricorn: The Moon tries to create favorable fun in times that are supposed to be easy but aren’t really — The twenty-second Mansion of the Moon offers a chance to escape and to find healing; but her next aspects are first with disruptive Uranus and then scheming Pluto — plans set in motion are likely to have to change. Pluto begins a substantive review of past decisions and refuses to complete the transfer of power fully; he retains some authority he’s not supposed to have.
In the sixth house of illness and the prevention of illness, retrograde Saturn invites us to consider our relationship to the pandemic and its causes and its aftermath. Are we really as safe as we suppose? Are we as well-served by the current restrictions and norms as we think? The review takes place in the second decan of Aquarius, Heaven and Earth — practical realities are not keeping time with idealized models; expect dangerous results, and act with Saturnian caution as a result.
In the seventh house of Others, Jupiter and Neptune hold down opposite ends of the sign of the fishes, with The Descendant assisting Neptune and The Lot of Fortune supporting Jupiter. This seems to promise good fortune for us personally — but also portends the dissolution of boundaries and the collapse of protective limits around some others. We may find that we ourselves are fine, but that people that we know suffer adverse effects: economic, medical, social. The aftermath of the pandemic is not likely to work out to anyone’s favor completely.
In the ninth house of learning and travel, Uranus indicates continued disruption and revolution in academic and tourist spaces and venues. Schools are going to continue to have difficulty functioning — especially in the realm of some of their less-obvious functions, like providing sensual and social outlets for a large chunk of the young-adult population. Given the chance, the supporting moon is likely to help teens and young adults slip their bonds and the normal, practical constraints of living at home under someone else’s roof — the results may be alarming for the future shape of society.
In the tenth house of career and reputation, the Midheaven and The North Node promise increased communication and lots of decision-making going on. However, Mercury is inconjunct, making these decisions both forked and liable to review and revision later on. Don’t expect to get much work done, but do expect a lot of language and lengthy email trees while you get the plan sorted out. A raise? A promotion? Possible, but not really likely.
In the eleventh house of friends, Mercury is hanging out in the middle decan of Cancer. Ordinarily, Mercury has no particular dignity in Cancer, but here they’re in charge of The Walled Garden where Hercules and the Three of Cups are emblems of significance — plan to get by with a little help from your friends this week. Perform some feats of strength, do some herculean cleanups, and drive off some of the peskier wildlife. Share your plans, too, but not widely — make sure your inner circle knows what’s what, but leave your professional colleagues out of the loop.
In the twelfth house of solitude, The Sun and Mars anchor opposite ends of the sign of Leo. Ordinarily, this would leave Mars burned out and out of command of the situation; however, at the moment he’s in the third Decan of Leo, The Banner, which is his region of administrative expertise. Accordingly, you may find that now is a great time to launch a solo project or achieve the completion of the same.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
Virgo: ruled by Mercury in Cancer II, which is sextile and in its chariot and succedent. It’s worth your time to invest in a little bit of self-image upgrade, but do so organically — a little bit here and there, like a haircut or a new shirt that’s a bit edgier or beyond your usual style. But don’t make a massive shift, from preppy to goth or vice versa… just go with the flow and look for something that’s a bit of a stretch for your style. The others in your life have a chance to have a big shift occur, but a review of their work may delay this outcome a while; be aware that they’re seething under the surface with big potential changes, without knowing quite when they’ll manifest. Plan to mark “complete” on a big work project, but don’t expect the workload to lessen afterward; home remains central to your big dreams, even if you don’t get much time there this time around. Spend some time in a small cluster of friends on a picnic or in a sheltered place: games or spoken-word entertainments are better than being in a crowd for now.
Libra: ruled by Venus which is angular but inconjunct. Financial matters become prominent these next ten days, but you’ll likely have to solve any solvency issues on your own; you’re also your own worst enemy here. Your career gains a boost from a particular form of networking, which should be a lot of one-on-one phone calls with “the big guys” in your life: who has it made, who’s successful, who is making it big? There are some challenging decisions at home that you may have to rethink, as well; and there are some opportunities for learning new technology skills that you really shouldn’t put off any longer. If you’re lonely, put some time into shining a light on why that is; if you’re not having any fun, consider what sort of restrictions prevent you from enjoying yourself: make suitable alterations to reset your dictions and priorities. When all else fails, call your siblings and closest confidants for advice.
Scorpio: ruled by Mars which is cadent and square, but in its chariot. Family issues, possibly involving siblings, raise their ugly head — your professional reputation may be at odds with filial duties in the next ten days; but you’re also expected to bow on command to someone else’s leadership right now. At the same time, your romantic relationship is either in need of some spicing up, in the form of some new ‘education’ or ‘adventure’ — or some cool down if you’ve just gone on a bit of an adventure and it didn’t work out as planned. Sudden restrictions at home are likely, particularly if there’s a household project that’s more expensive than intended, and you may have to rely on a partner’s resources for a period of time. Don’t be embarrassed or weird about this: accept this as a normal part of relationship, but be clear about your current limits to the people that matter.
Sagittarius: ruled by Jupiter which is angular and in its sign but retrograde and in the first degree. You dream of being at home and being useful to the world, and you keep pointing to the house as the context which matters right now — and you’re expected to drop everything and leave it behind for less-delightful options. You’re in the financial driver’s seat at the moment, but both work and household management are causing unexpected strains. Talk to your partner about both desires and realities, but don’t expect the message to land with as much clarity as you’d like. Good fortune comes your way at home as a result of your partner’s commitments, but it’s likely to even out in the wash. Creative efforts abound
Capricorn: ruled by Saturn which is in its sign but inconjunct and cadent. A series of pleasures and pastimes may have run amok in the last few months, and now you have a window to bring these things under control again — remembering that sometimes control is sometimes about surrender, and sometimes about accepting responsibility to see something through to the end. This will require some clear and pretty intimate conversations — about the upheavals in your life, and about the level of intimacy you want to pursue in the future. It’s possible that your family will become involved in this, either through conscious effort on your part, or accidental discovery as your partner lets down their guard or crosses a boundary they didn’t know about (hence the need for clear communication!). You should spend some time in pursuit of a craft or art project for its own sake, but your partner may need your help and energy to complete a work-related project, too.
Aquarius: ruling Saturn is present but cadent. Daily habits and practices are an essential focus of the next ten days: keep your mind on your highest desires, and try to put them into practical practice here on earth wherever possible. This may require you to embody your highest vision… but also to retreat from the world for a bit. A financial windfall may come your way, but it could easily evaporate if you don’t set some ground rules with your partner — who faces difficulties of their own, but is also a source of light and warmth to you in challenging times. A bit of turbulence in the bedroom is to be expected — and you should also be on guard when a professional peer asks you to keep a secret at work; it’s a small thing now, but it will balloon out of proportion in the long run if you don’t close that door promptly when someone tries to open it.
Pisces: ruling Jupiter is present and angular, but retrograde. A lovely opportunity to grow and improve is likely to drop right into your lap, but you should take prompt advantage of the occasion. Solitude is likely to make you moody and difficult and overly focused on death, but you may find that you get snappy and bossy in the company of friends, too, even when you’re doing things you normally enjoy. Surrender to your partner’s ideas of what is fun for a change, and allow your usual boundaries to dissolve. A romantic scandal may be rocking your family’s gossip column, and your home may be the site of a public scene; you may find yourself longing to escape and go back to your workplace rather than stick it out. Getting involved in a partner’s work project creatively would be personally valuable, but it also requires daily investment of time to get it finished: judge your other commitments clearly.
Aries: ruling Mars is trine and in his chariot, but cadent. Duty and responsibility, and possibly death or taxes, are part of the major themes of the next ten days. That sounds all doom and gloom — but maybe it’s likely to be mostly work-related rather than personal. You’re expected to carry the banner through a series of challenges. Do your duty and it’ll be (mostly) fine. There’s likely to be some financial ups-and-downs: some of them may be caused by your romantic gestures for a partner; but there may be communications issues at home, too, like maybe you need a new wifi port or a firewall? A supervisor at work will probably become domineering and difficult; you can find a variety of ways to bow out gracefully when these rants gets out of hand. Malicious compliance — that is, following directions to a fault, as if you had no head of your own — might be an equally valid strategy for dealing with this behavior. Try to have some fun in this situation, regardless.
Taurus: ruling Venus is trine and angular but in fall. A romantic adventure or sensual insight is likely to be expected of you in the next ten days, but you can locate the exits gracefully. It’s not that you’re not into it — it’s that the conditions will never seem quite right. That said, if you can allow things to happen organically rather than mechanically, you’re likely to have a more favorable experience — and some of that experience can be ‘dark and twisted’, and some can be light and easy. Some communication with family is necessary for business reasons, in the privacy of a secure channel. You’re also called to help some friends with relationship issues, and you ought to treat this as a necessary outgrowth of your larger intentions. Professional matters require a daily hand on the wheel, and a touchstone on your higher-order expertises. You’ve been avoiding learning a particular set of skills, and you can still refuse to learn them… but now would be a good time to start.
Gemini: ruling Mercury is in their chariot, succedent but inconjunct. You’re somewhat on your own at the moment without the herald planet’s expertise guiding you. This requires that you execute on some professional goals that you’ve been wanting a long time, without additional magical support from the spirit realms. That’s a bit like performing without a net — but Mercury will keep your financial footings firm through the next few days without difficulty. Act now, and things are likely to work out. A partner in your life (business or romantic? Unclear) is dealing with an unpleasant obligation that requires them to either take charge of the fun, or bow out of it. There’s no right way to do this, for sure, except for you to guide them toward the decision that they’d not make themselves. It’s not exactly playing devil’s advocate — more like, guide them toward their growth opportunity.
Cancer: ruling Moon is in detriment and opposition and sucedent. A partner has some delightful opportunities for escape and entertainment awaiting them, but you may be stuck at home working on your own intellectual projects to keep the money flowing. They’ll have obligations of their own that they’ll have to play catch-up on, later. Your ambitions are best served by sticking it out in your institutional roles, even if you’d rather be playing with family and friends. Try to build in some learning and networking occasions in the next ten days, and seek out people who can be potential peers and allies in any business plans you might have for the future.
Leo: ruling Sun is present and succedent, and co-present with Mars in his chariot. A fair bit of solitude can be expected in the next ten days, and you should find ways to turn that alone-time into an advantage. Just — stay away from overly sharp tools, and watch yourself around heat-producing equipment? A creative act may lead to additional good fortune — spend time on creative work, and network with friends and allies with paintbrush in hand, or drawing pencil, rather than wine glass or pipe. It’s good to get into the nitty-gritty, just don’t expect the work to shine like a Picasso. One-on-one time with important friends is better than big get-togethers or barbeques. If there are any company parties, go. This is an occasion when the assignment of interesting work is likely to occur, and you don’t want to miss out. An important romantic or business partner is facing some serious challenges or limits — possibly health related, but just as likely to be mental or ethical blocks around both finances and familial duty. Help keep them honest with themselves about what really matters, but don’t try to impose your own morals on their due diligence — you’re here to advise, not direct.
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, “A Full Volume of Splendour and Starlight” contains these smaller collections:
- To the Mansions of the Moon is a collection of hymns to the angels of the Mansions
- 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.
You might also enjoy:
- Festae, hymns to some of the older Roman gods and spirits.