Sun in Cancer II: Herakles

Cancer II, the Walled Garden as Austin Coppock titled it, hosts the Sun from 1 July 2022 at 4:48 pm EDT until July 12 at 4:44 am EDT. Ruled by the Moon but administrated by Mercury, the place gives the Moon a voice to match its song. We also begin this decan with the Sun and Moon in mutual reception, each in the sign of the other — lending a clarifying and hopeful light to the next ten days.

The Hellenistic Greeks gave these ten days to one of their favorite demigods — the powerful and famously mighty Hercules or Herakles, the performer of 12 deeds of might. Modern audiences rarely understand that Hercules was assigned the twelve labors, though, as penance for killing his wife and children while in the grips of the “madness of Hera” —which, as witch and krokopelplon Sara Mastros has pointed out to me, looks and sounds a lot like an ancient description of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): the warrior hero performed his feats of triumph as a method of soul or mind retrieval. The Labors of Hercules, though, weren’t intended to heal the hero; they were intended to kill him. The warrior had become a threat to others, and the solution was to send him against the worst and most dangerous forces that the mythic landscape could produce. Perhaps he’d die there, and the land would be rid of two evils? It didn’t work. Hercules was now the mightiest — and most dangerous — in the land.

So, when Hercules again gave in to the madness of Hera, and slaughtered family members in his night-terrors and madness, a new labor (less well known, but far more important) was given to him: he was given into slavery for a year and a day to the queen of the Amazons, who dressed him in women’s clothing and had him sit with her waiting-women, learning to spin, knit, weave, and embroider. She herself put on Hercules’ emblematic lion-skin, and carried his weapons in battle, while he wielded only a drop spindle and a shuttle. A year and a day later, she released him — now calmed, a master of his own mind and body, and once again able to be a heroic leader. Women’s work had cured him of his madness.

The Walled Garden shares some of those themes — the idea of a sheltered place apart from the world, in which your secret pastimes and pleasures can be cultivated. Beyond the walls there is war — and when people try to enter your secure space uninvited, that’s reason for battle, as well. This is invitation-only space: the greatest warrior of ancient Greece put on women’s clothing to sit with the waiting-women of the queen of the Amazons, and replaced the sword with the distaff, the armor with the flowing fabric of the chiton.You too, could replace your hardness with softness in the next ten days — as long as you understand the concept of sanctuary clearly enough.

The administrator of the middle decan of Cancer is Mercury — who plays so close to the Sun that we often forget their sometimes-lunatic nature. Swift-moving, ambiguously gendered, and never more than a sign away from the Sun, Mercury is like the fast-talking sidekick constantly in the shadow of the hero. Yet Mercury is often the mediator of the Moon’s approach to the dark of the moon, and the actuator of the Moon’s departure from the dark of the moon to the thin light of the first waxing crescent. Marsilio Ficino, the great Renaissance translator and astrologer, said that “The Moon has a voice, but no song,” and so it is Mercury who lends their skill at music to the Moon’s language of imagination, making the same phrase happy or sad, angry or weary, by the music with which they accompany her. The Moon always expresses herself grammatically, but Mercury lends their rhetorical skill to what she says, amplifying and energizing her words into a call for action.

Planetary Positions

The Ascendant is in the third decan of Scorpio conjunct the South Node, suggesting that a fair bit of guano will come out of The Crow’s rear-end in the next ten days. The third decan of Scorpio is a place of desire, a longing for things that are beautiful and longed for (and sometimes necessary!) — but that South Node tells us that these things cannot be had, or that they will harm us if we do. Mars rules the Ascendant, but he’s inconjunct… making the Moon in the triplicity ruler most able to affect the current moment. Her position urges you to stop waiting for a leader, and to seek to lead yourself toward the world that you want in the next ten days. Others are likely to see you and step into your wake.

The Lot of Fortune is in Sagittarius III The Horse’s Skull with a similar warning about money and wealth: if you need more than you have, be wary right now. There is no magical reserve of gold inside the goose that lays the golden eggs; the dead horse will not plow a field or pull a cart no matter how much you beat it.

Pluto in the third house, retrograde in Capricorn III The Throne, indicates magnified and difficult issues close to home, in our own communities and families.

Saturn is angular but retrograde in the fourth house, domiciled in Aquarius III The Knot — we tend to think of Saturn as the planet of restriction and limitation, while forgetting his other role as the master of decline, endings and entropy. The news of the last week in the United States is unraveling households and families there, and unbinding what has long been trussed. Inflation worldwide is similarly unraveling the web of global trade and international connections: what is connected, cannot be assumed to remain so. The supporting trine to Mercury points to clear rationality and precise language as the knife that cuts away knotty confusion.

Neptune retrograde in the third decan of Pisces The Cup of Blood, indicates a sloshing and forceful sort of zealousness rising in the world in the next ten days. The square to Mercury indicates disingenuous argument and discussion on false pretenses, but also points to a rash of pleasure-seeking behaviors and voluntary exile into the dream worlds of games, mind-altering substances, and heart-numbing ignorance.

Jupiter is in the first decan of Aries The Double Bladed Axe. Dignified by triplicity but cadent and out of sect, he promises to assist us with our work in the world. But the planet of law and justice tempered by mercy hasn’t had his second cup of coffee, and is really feeling like he needs to take a mental health day… or two… could he circle back to you later, maybe after lunch on Thursday next week?

Jupiter’s headache comes from being close under the thumb of Mars, the ruler of Aries — although cadent in the sixth house, he’s nonetheless in the house of his joy and the house of his rulership and in his own sect — the place where the troublemaker of the solar system is free to make the most trouble. Additionally, this decan is The Burning Rose, a place where one’s passion projects have freedom to flourish. What the Lord of Violence’s passion projects are, I’m not sure I want to know, but we may learn in the next ten days.

Uranus is in Taurus II, the Lingam-Yoni, loosely conjunct the North Node, on opposite sides of the line between the ecstatic and seething cauldron of power and sensuality, and the cold deliberateness of The Prayer Beads. There’s a balance of energy that’s starting to shift from candlelight in a private bedroom to monkish austerity in a cold cloister, hitting its first transition point in May 2023 next year. Over the next two years we’ll see that shift become even more pronounced.

Venus and Mercury are both in Gemini in the 8th house, urging us to use our creativity and our cleverness in service to what we see as our duties and responsibilities in the world. However, Gemini trines Saturn and squares Neptune, indicating that there’s direct instruction that needs to take place to overcome the influence of those planets. “Here’s what’s required to make this work.”

The Moon in Leo and The Sun in Cancer are treated favorably by being in a relationship called Mutual Reception — each is in the house of the other, and so they are treated as having the same dignity as if they were in their own sign. This elevates both of them, and gives special power to this new moon in the achievement of goals and the building of reputation in the next ten days. The Moon is in the Eleventh Mansion, The Lion’s Mane, depicted as an armed man on the back of a lion — a place of leadership, war, charisma, and awe.

I don’t normally comment much on the position of the Midheaven, but in the first decan of Virgo, A Tree Bearing Fruit, it’s ruled by Mercury urging you to make friends and find allies in the time ahead.

Horoscopes by Rising Sign

The Horoscopes are made available to the public when the Sun is in the first decan of each sign; Horoscopes of the second decan are made available to my Patreon supporters at the $3/month tier and higher, or to supporters through Horoscopes for the third decan are made available to Patreon and Ko-Fi subscribers, and to subscribers to my email list.


I have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it continues its third year. I use Patreon funds (as well as my own funds) to support artists and artisans and thinkers that I regard as contributing to the well-being of the world. 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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