The Sun enters Cancer I, the domain of the Greek goddess of victory that also lends her name to a famous athletic shoe and clothing company, on June 21 at 5:14 am EDT. Not coincidentally, this is also the moment of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. The season thus passes from the aptly-named Executioner’s Sword to The Mother and Child, in Austin Coppock’s schema of names for the decans. Ruled by Venus, it’s a season of tenderness and care, for bringing up children and for preparing the fruit that will nourish the seed that is to come. In the ancient world, late spring and early summer was the season of famine, as what was stored from the previous year began to run out but as the new food was not yet ready to harvest. Giving this season to Nike the goddess of victory, may have been not so much a celebration of athletic prowess, as “hurrah, there’s food to eat!”
We are, of course, looking at a night chart, in which the waning moon still hasn’t reached the midpoint of the sky, and the Sun has not yet risen. It’s strange, at the moment of solstice, to find that the Sun has not yet emerged from the shortest darkness of the year, and that will be a theme in the Cancer Ingress chart of the next three months for the United States The Moon is in Aries, a place of no special dignity or detriment for her, but in the First Mansion — called The Two Signals, it is a place of new energy and ambition, but also fired up with ferocity and warning — something difficult tugs at the connections between our acquaintances and networks of professional connections and social ties; webs of social, economic and political norms fray and smolder.
And yet — the Ascendant is still in the last decan of Gemini, that self-same Executioner’s Sword: we may wish to be nurturing and considerate of one another, and help grow one another’s skills through loving-kindness and creativity. Yet our attention is still on the sovereign power, steadfast in continuing to not do what must be done. Winston Churchill once said, “The Americans can be counted upon to do the right thing — but only once all other options are exhausted.” So many of my readers may be aware of the very real problems facing the world — or even just their part of the world — that aren’t being dealt with: it might be as simple as a pothole in a parking lot or as large as a corrupt and authoritarian government. One way or another, the desired solutions are still not on the horizon.
Venus administers this decan, and the bright and cheerful “morning star” version of her is twinkling easily in the eastern sky. She’s quite strong in her own sign of Taurus), and prepared to assist (sextile to the first house), but disinclined to get deeply involved in your problems (cadent and in the twelfth house) — this is akin to the friend who you run into at a coffee house between deadlines and you talk for twenty minutes about your problems; she says, “Oh, that’s terrible. Let me take you to lunch sometime next week” and then (let’s be charitable to her) forgets to schedule something. Use those twenty minutes of her attention advantageously: don’t gripe about the whole situation; ask her to fix a single specific problem, or make one phone call on your behalf, right then and there.
The dodecatemoria of this decan are four: Cancer, Leo, Virgo, and Libra. It’s helpful to see this as the farmer’s view of the plant life cycle: first there’s the watering of the seed, and the nurturing of the seedling; then comes the swift and sudden bloom, the emergence of the lion’s mane of the flower in all its colorful brilliance. Then there’s the long analysis of Virgo:is this plant ready to harvest? Today? tomorrow? What does it need to stay healthy? Finally comes the harvest, and bringing it to market in Libra: what is this worth? What is the acceptable payment? Will that help cover next year’s start up costs?
Recently on Twitter, user @omegastrology pointed out that the decans of any two signs on the same axis always lack the influence of one planet. The decans of Cancer-Capricorn lack the influence of Saturn — and by the pantheon of deities represented in the decans, this axis is an interesting mix of powers associated with magic, healing, health, and purification: Nike, Herakles, and Hekate rule the Cancer decans; and Asklepios, Hygeia, and Tolma rule the Capricorn side. It’s a thought-provoking mix, which urges us to take in the sunlight while we can, pursue heath, workout and exercise, and stay clean. Greek medicine also relied on specific foods, so eat often of summer produce and be bold in planning for your own success: it’s not often when Saturn is in a sign it rules, that you get a brief holiday from the full authority of the old ascetic curmudgeon — now’s your chance!
Because of a pile-up of planets in the first quadrant of the sky, we now have a fascinating situation: four of the seven visible planets are in signs that they rule. Mars, Saturn, and Mercury are each sextile or trine to one another by sign, creating favorable conditions for difficult communications, arguments, and harsh words. Venus is square to Saturn, promising roughness in the relationship between our public religiosity and our private understandings of spirit.
Mars is in Aries, his own rulership, in the decan called The Burning Rose. Here he stirs up trouble and conflict in social circles, professional networks, and educational communities; he’s passionate and serious about what needs to be done, but it doesn’t mean he’s not going to break a few eggs (or heads) in the process. Venus is in Taurus in the decan called The Prayer Beads, suggesting a retreat from the world undertaken for aesthetic reasons — “it’s just too ugly out there right now.” Mercury is in Gemini’s first decan, The Apple of Eden, suggesting we’ve bitten off more than we can chew, and are gaining new insight against our better natures and reason. Saturn is in Aquarius in the third decan, The Knot, indicating a necessary re-education in how to cut free of normal restraints and limitations.
Along this same arc, we find Uranus still in Taurus’s middle decan The Lingam Yoni— a struggle for autonomy and the right to personal happiness is ongoing. I see a lot more Starbucks stores are looking to unionize, and I see that employees at Amazon and SpaceX are pushing back against their CEOs’ and boards ‘ policies and rule-making procedures… with varying degrees of success. And, of course, there’s a January 6 Committee grinding away, sharpening the knives to come for the power-players in the last administration. These things are all of a piece: low-level people hitting back at those with more senior and better-compensated positions Expect this struggle to be ongoing, and note that Pluto is on the other end of this particular negotiation, which hasn’t yet turned blood-in-the-streets ugly and probably won’t for a couple of years yet.
Jupiter and The Moon are also in Aries in the first decan, the Double Bladed Axe. Divisions are coming, and separations, under the cover of law but backed by at least the implied threat violence.
Neptune is in the last decan of Pisces the Cup of Blood. A marker of zealotry and untethered enthusiasm, it’s also a warning against false information and confusion about the state of what’s real. Henry Kissinger, describing the challenge of compartmentalizing classified intelligence from public information, warned that it’s easy to privilege and honor what was brought to you through secret channels and at great cost — but there’s no guarantee that the New York Times hasn’t published a cub reporter’s more accurate analysis of a problem on page 17 of last Tuesday’s paper. In a more fictional vein, both Saruman and Denethor saw false visions in their seeing stones, in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings — just because a high-tech vision has brought you the information, doesn’t mean it’s true. Eleanor Shelstrop’s file may only be another cactus.
There’s not much left to delineate. Pluto remains in Capricorn’s third decan The Throne, and it’s been nice to see the Uranian labor push-back at least mildly inconvenience a billionaire or two on twitter. The obligations of high office weigh upon senior statesmen and top-tier executives alike, and, as noted above, at the moment it’s the genial give-and-take. That may change by 2026, when Uranus progresses into Gemini; or Pluto enters Aquarius for the first time in March 2023. But we’ll see.
The Nodal Axis is balanced on Taurus III and Scorpio III — the hunger for minimalism and simplicity being challenged by the releasing and destruction of beautiful things. Expect to see ongoing signs of the beige-ening of the world, as AirBnB encourages more rental properties to conform to an IKEA-ness of minimalism. Rooms may get duller as the transshipment of pigments for artists and wall paints slows or stops, delayed for more, higher-priority cargo. Tighter trade protocols keeps hand-made things out and lets more mass-production in.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
Gemini: Ruling Mercury present and angular, and taking their joy in the first house. The insights and conversation of the next ten days will be awesome and genial, constantly circling back and revisiting old themes; you may find that you’re eager to be up and about in the world, and eager to participate in everything. More than anything, you’re on a public stage for a while; avoid picking arguments, and have a quiet place to retreat to; be prepared to learn to keep your mouth shut whenever you want to learn the real secrets — you can blab them later, but not this week.
Cancer: Moon square and in the first Mansion. Financial issues overlap with some issues around loaned or shifted money within your work budget or discretionary accounts. You may want to file the necessary paperwork to report, or re-shuffle funds, before the end of the month. Settle the existing outstanding tasks, too, and try to have a clean desk for July 1. Depending on your place in an 80+ year-long lifespan, someone’s health scare may force you to reconsider your own plans and legacies.
Leo: Sun inconjunct and peregrine. Your spouse or significant other may be off at summer gatherings with family and friends, and you may have your own solo project trying to crawl out of your head and onto a sheet of paper. There’s an underlying theme of responsibility at work here: responsibility to others, responsibility to the intellectual master-piece you’re trying to bring into being, and responsibility to sort through the ramifications of your current priorities. Some upheaval in your employer’s workplace is likely, but the more you can make your job resemble routine but creative and un-automated tasks, the less likely you are to feel the rumble or the undertow.
Virgo: Domiciled Mercury angular but square. You have great freedom of action to reinvent yourself, or to re-design your living arrangements, but do them one at a time or focus on one and ignore the other. SMall changes, too: you only have ten days. There’s work and health management issues that will be heavy and tiresome; but there will also be creative opportunities and learning adventures that will nourish and refill you. A sunny old friend will drop back into your life; enjoy it while it lasts!
Libra: Domiciled Venus cadent and inconjunct. A “Honey, can I see you in the kitchen??” moment may be looming at an upcoming party — it’s likely to work out, but be aware that the initial snarl may be thick with implicit violence. You may have to respond creatively to demands for accountability. Your own intentions may be more focused on birthing a new project at work, and yet you may find that you have to maintain a more fluid and flexible calendar and daily routine than you’d like. Plan to cross a bucket list item off your to-do list (a small one); even if it’s not this week, you should schedule it.
Scorpio: Domiciled Mars succedent and inconjunct. What do you do when the shit hits the fan, metaphorically or literally? Duck. The trend of minimalism (in fashion, decoration, architecture, and more) hits you in your daily routine these ten days, and may make you long for the quiet of a impulsive artistic retreat. If you’re a maker, keep making stuff. If you’re not, make some stuff: baking, painting, drawing, art… put your back into it. You can also learn to do a few home repairs effectively and professionally; consider inviting a few friends over to help you build something practical. Make something creative for a spouse or partner — and communicate about your mutual responsibilities, too.
Sagittarius: Jupiter dignified by triplicity, trine, and succedent. Your partner may be much on your mind, and communications improve greatly even over challenging issues. Get fired up, as people realize you have time on your hands: you may find that you’re eager to take on some new but contentious issues; that some leisure projects are easily completed; and that you are able to work through some work-related efforts with great ease. Some new professional opportunities come your way, as well. Money matters are fortunate, but be modest in planning and prudent in spending. Think ahead, past September at least, and where you want to be when the season turns.
Capricorn: Domiciled Saturn is inconjunct and cadent. Pluto is present. You may be at odds or apart from a spouse or business partner in the next ten days, but their light still shines on you. Financial matters may be constrained and require some sorting. If you’re going to plan to expand your living quarters, consider your friends and associates, and how you plan to use the house to benefit more than just yourselves. Plan a social occasion just for your most intimate associates, and set up an intellectual adventure, one on one, with someone you admire or whose company you enjoy.
Aquarius: Domiciled Saturn is present but cadent. You’ve got some hard learning to do, or a rough trip ahead of you, to fix something that should have been done a while back. If there’s still time to negotiate a fee… ask for more money. This is a larger thing than your initial estimate, and you should be prepared to outline a larger scope and sequence than is currently visible. Get ready to launch an estimate or two. Family matters may blow up; there’s a veneer of civility and emotional kindness, but watch for the knife in the glove if that’s your family dynamic. If you’ve got a garden, tend it with patience and the kind of kindness that your family should have.
Pisces: Jupiter dignified by triplicity, succedent, and taking their joy in the first house, but inconjunct. Tend your household water supplies with extra care — I’m not saying your well is going to run dry, but once I was trying to do three projects simultaneously and I forgot to close a furnace valve; all the radiators in the house started spewing water. Open what must be opened, but close it again after. A money issue arises, possibly with an acquaintance or a professional contact: be kind and patient on the phone, but prepare to get ugly if it comes to that. Make a family creative day or go for a hike: be sure your spouse or significant other gets to join the fun.
Aries: Domiciled Mars is present. Head off pointless arguments with friends, using the time honored technique of debate on serious matters; but stick to the rules and don’t be a traumatizing jerk by arguing their right to exist or something offensive. No, get passionate about whether cereal is soup or tacos are sandwiches. Debate the moral perils of the irreproducibility of the fitness industry or the right of college debt loansharks to exist. Be civil and cool, but passionate— and yet, keep an open mind even as you develop the knowledge to be an expert. At the same time, keep your cool about money and draw together your resources. Make communication with your closest friends a priority.
Taurus: Domiciled Venus is present but cadent. A solo creative retreat would serve you better than a high energy gathering of friends; you’ll have fun, but things might get rambunctious and you also may find yourself tending the walking wounded more than you’d like. Be prepared to be the heavy at work, or someone may be putting the squeeze on you, instead: speak what you know to be true, but be prepared to learn new methods. Money flows in and out through your hands like the wind, but it’s hard to get a sense of what course of action to take to stabilize the breeze. When it comes to siblings, you may find it helpful to shine a light on “what would mother do?”
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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.
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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.