The Sun reaches the moment of the Summer Solstice at 10:58 am EDT on June 21, 2023 over western Massachusetts — and that’s the start of Cancer I ruled by Nike or Nika, the goddess of victory. It’s one of the four profoundly important cornerstones of the astrological year and domain — the start of one of the four cardinal signs of the Zodiac’s elements, in this case the sign of Water. Austin Coppock called this decan The Mother and Child— and maybe that has to do with the breaking water that signals the beginning of the birth sequence of a new baby, which is the start of the struggle that leads to a victory of a kind. Pamela Colman Smith’s Tarot deck image of the Two of Cups, though, tells of another kind of victory — two young people finding their way into love with one another, and a potential child emerging from that union.
Today we think of Nike as being primarily a shoe and clothing company, but in the ancient world she was victory, personified — and worthy of receiving worship and gratitude after victory in a contest or conflict, whether on the athletic field or the battle field. It was not uncommon even in the era of the Peloponnesian War to “set up a trophy” — that is, a mountain of the armor and weapons of the slain, usually the defeated combatants — as a signal of which side had won; it was also not uncommon for both sides to send out detachments of troops to set up the trophy after a battle, and for the trophy-assemblers to wind up in a pitched battle with each other. Claiming the victory before Nike was as important as actually winning the battle. Similarly, childbirth in the ancient world was hard, and to emerge victorious from the ordeal might have been worth a little libation or two at the shrine of Nike.
It would make sense if this decan were assigned to Mars — but it belongs to Venus, and specifically Venus in the sort of role where she makes the change from being the lover, the girlfriend or the newlywed wife… to being the expectant mother-to-be, or even the new-made mother. The love of women changes at such times in their lives, and I saw it most recently on display this past weekend at a Fathers’ Day Brunch: the fathers might have been feted with cards and gifts, but so many women were absolutely radiant, looking not at their partners but their children: the marriage or partnership might or might not be successful… but these bright, smart, happy, lovely children on their best behavior? They were hers. This was her victory, her triumph: she found a partnership worth making, and brought offspring into the world.
The dodeks of Cancer I, are assigned to Cancer, Leo, Virgo, and Libra — The mother, soft and tender, makes a wall around herself and what she values. Yet when threatened, she bursts forth in roaring fire and fury, unable to be assuaged or diverted. Once the crisis passes, she assumes a more graceful and nuanced countenance. Finally, with a greater degree of balance and judicious care, she is able to see where and how she overreacted — and where she was fully justified in becoming a fiery and unhinged monster.
The Sun is in the eleventh house, making this a Day Chart, which privileges the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn above the horizon, but quashes our expectations for Venus and Mars. The Sun and Moon are in a relationship called mutual reception, with each in the sign of the other. In another era, this chart would be remarkable for having all seven visible planets above the horizon, indicating that public matters and widespread concerns play a greater role in events over the next ten days (and three months, for reasons I’ll explore further below) than private or more local issues.
The Ascendant in Virgo I makes Mercury the ruler of this chart; in Gemini and approaching the midheaven and in an elongated arc from the Sun, they’re as strong as they can be without being in Virgo — an appropriate place for the non-binary trickster of the solar system, free and footloose in the middle decan the Hermaphrodite. In much the same way that corporations try to have it both ways in Pride Month — being both in favor of LGBTQ+ causes and draped in rainbows, and also not so committed to LGBTQ+ civil rights as to get them in trouble with ‘the other side’ — so will you have to play the part of a loyal and dutiful employee while also looking out for yourself and your genuine friends at work. Have it both ways, my friend!
This chart also marks the Summer Solstice. While the Aries Ingress chart of 2023 for Washington DC indicated that we would have six months in a row that could be reliably predicted, this is a minor inflection of that chart — suggesting legislative interference in judicial matters, and judicial interference in legislative matters, as well as ongoing trouble in the realms of higher education and long-distance travel over the next three months. Those assumptions were “baked in” to the chart at the Aries Ingress — they’re just being re-highlighted at the start of the second three months of the ingress cycle.
The Sun in the eleventh house suggests that you may have to baby and care for some of your friends in the next ten days. Are you attending enough networking events these days, or are you stuck in your work cubicle all the time? Are you noticing that your friends spend a lot of time on their own? Invite them out —it’s not on you to force them to accept the invitation, but after two years and more of pandemic, people often don’t know who is in their corner right now. Shine your light on the people you want in your corner.
The sticky wicket in this chart, though is the cluster in Leo and the 12th house: Mars, Venus, and the Moon. Venus is in this position, besieged between the Moon and Mars — her attraction to the warrior planet with big strong muscles and obvious, manly qualities is obvious to all. But the Moon is there, her elderly mother or aunt, and Venus would like to make a good impression on her relative for her reserve, her charm, and her judiciousness. The flirtation will be obvious, the hints significant, the glances smoldering… but Venus is going to stay stuck beside her chaperone during the next few days and months, and eventually turn away from the fellow she lusts after. Don’t mistake any flirtation in the next ten days for the real thing; this relationship is unlikely to take off.
The Lot of Fortune in the second house of Libra invites us to make changes in how we link accounts and manage money. I’ve recently been re-reading Don Miller’s How to Grow Your Small Business, and he’s got good advice about managing the finances of a small entrepreneurial project, so that profits grow, the business keeps necessary operation and reinvestment capital on hand, and the taxes get paid. Review your financial system: are you properly set up for success?
The Nodal Axis joins the ninth and third houses at the moment, inviting lengthy journeys but promising trouble at home. Did you leave the iron on? Is the stove off? How about the oven? Was the valve closed on the washing machine? It’s best to think about your long-range plans at the moment, anyway, but keep your mind on ground travel for the moment — aerial flights of fancy or cruise plans may land you in hot water. In less than a month, the nodes change signs, promising a new hunger to pursue your passions… even as you recognize that not slowing down or trying to have it all is leading to burnout and unbalanced behaviors.
Pluto has returned, at least temporarily, to Capricorn — where he promises entertainment that will keep you glued to your seat! (Possibly in unpleasant ways). When your friends start to dither about what to do on a Saturday night, though, take charge and decide (at least for yourself). There’s no point in wasting attention on many plans, when you are yourself clear about what you want to do in your leisure time.
Saturn and Neptune hold opposite ends of Pisces, with Saturn promising challenging and circuitous conversations with loved ones, and Neptune pledging ongoing enthusiasm and excitement divorced from reality. It’s going to take a long time to get certain members of your family and business peers to see reason on various issues, and their ideas and your facts are likely to separate like oil and water. Be aware of the estrangement of passions and commitments on the one hand, and detailed certitude on the other.
Separating from a sextile to Saturn is Jupiter in Taurus I The Plough, with an invitation to a lengthy journey and voyage of exploration across the realms of food and drink, garden and granary, orchard and apiary. If you find yourself considering taking up cooking or gardening this summer, don’t delay any longer; the sense of independence that comes from knowing that tonight’s dinner salad came from your garden bed will be palpable. At the same time, Uranus prepares to receive the square from Mars, proffering a fair bit of explosive and ugly exposures on social media that may have you running to the electron-free monastery and renouncing social media for ever (or at least until you get bored and decide to sneak back on to Facebook). Don’t delete your profiles, but a period of deliberate cultivation of your relationship with the world of nature would be good for you. Don’t sleep on this advice — get ready to break it off with social media for a time.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
Decan I of any sign (usually covering the 21st of the month to the first of the following month) is free to all visitors; Decan II is only available to Patreon and Ko-Fi.com subscribers; and Decan III is available to Patreon, Ko-Fi, and MailChimp subscribers.
Virgo: How do you perform the role of seduction? Are you cool and calm, but make subtle eye contact? Are you funny and flirty with lots of sexual innuendo? You may feel this is a skill that you lack — but I invite you to work your self-consciousness a little this coming week and practice getting over the hump of the internal challenge. You have a professional song-and-dance number coming up in the near future where you should prepare for the role more broadly and with more nuance than usual. Learning opportunities abound, but be careful not to extend yourself beyond your abilities too far. Your spouse or significant other may be in a bit of a pickle that takes some time to unwind, but let the work be done steadily and slowly, rather than risk it being undone in a sudden rush.
Libra: You have some unexpected freedom to shuffle your financial matters around to your benefit, but once these changes are made they may be locked in for a period of time; be sure you understand what you’re getting into. You may be stuck in the observer role — or as chaperone — while two long-time friends circle one another in a possible dalliance. Your role may be to tell one of them to knock it off… or to tell both of them to get a room. Be sure you get the credit for the how-to manual or project you’re creating (or have created) in the workplace; and pay attention if some supervisor is trying to assign you more duties than you’re capable of fulfilling. It’s an appropriate time to say “no” to accepting responsibility for routine or daily projects — they’re likely to spin out beyond your control and get in the way of your mainline duties.
Scorpio: You have freedom to pursue your own agenda at last, but you will have to go it alone when it comes to paying for that schedule. You can flirt with all your potential employers all you like, but you may find that your existing supervisors and routines are preferable to what’s on offer. Some communication with a significant other (or ex- ) about the nature of ongoing responsibilities may be needed. You have new play opportunities to pursue with possible new lovers, but some doors may be closed decisively, and others may exist as “someday in the future” dreams rather than real options today. If a toxic issues arises with a sibling, you may want to lay out your side of the negotiation early.
Sagittarius: Being at home is what you really wanted, right? So why are you spending your free time thinking about making money as though it brought happiness? There’s a long and winding route to dealing with the flood of emotions that family brings up, but you still need to make disruptions to your daily routine, and you still need to learn the way to flirt with learning instead of of going all in on each and. eveyr project. Your significant other is more in the spotlight than you are right now, but they are in both their professional role and their administrative flow — and you are the homebody while they get stuff done. Put your focus on growing your own professional role organically, and recognize that you must keep turning back to learn new skills even as your ambition for greater success moves on.
Capricorn: Pluto’s return to Capricorn invites you to take your seat and work on your favoriate hobbies — or, if you have kids, to identify the reasons they might need to be grounded and then to (try to) exert your authority to maintain that discipline. This moment won’t last — you may want to exercise a dream of sovereignty, but that usually requires more planning than the shoot-from-the-hip of your current approach. Stick to making major connections at work, and gaining a new certification or two at work. You have familial issues that are likely to crop up — is there an elder relative losing their rein on reality? What about your staid, run-of-the-mill hobby that seems to be undergoing tremendous changes? Allow yourself to be moved by these events — and accept the transformation in yourself that external protocols require.
Aquarius: The knowledge that you use every day keeps you afloat, but trying to turn that knowledge into money or resources (or a date night) is tough and circuitous. Even so, hold back a reserve for when trouble flows in later. Household matters require you to expand your definition of family — you have a lot of ways to learn and grow in this environment — but you also have boundaries to set and expectations to express. How can you hybridize communication into both a pleasure and a professional skill? Your flirtations with shifting your duties may require you to explain yourself to a spouse or significant other or business partner; it’s worth deciding now how far you want to go down this path.
Pisces: In a strange and winding way, your most significant others (business partners, spouse, romantic interest) are the most important people in your life right now, not yourself. In organic ways, do what you can to create structure for them, to fake your enthusiasms for their projects, and to reverse-engineer your responses to their problems so that you can be supportive and kind. Some of this may involve treating some of your usual friendly acquaintances as foes, and shining a light on the relationship between you and your parents, or you and your kids, or you and your siblings. Each of these relationships needs a slightly different angle, but you may find yourself learning a lot from these folks. Oh, and there’s a high pressure expectation to perform daily at work, but your expertise is likely to attract as much criticism as praise. Just do the work for now, and mend fences later.
Aries: In your hobbies, you like to show off your work, and get honor and credit for your achievement. Right now, there will be teasing criticism of your work, combined with ambition to finish several in-process projects with upcoming deadlines. Where possible, try to imagine what your original intentions were, and reach for that even now. You may only get temporary fulfillment, a like or two on Facebook or the ‘gram, right now — but you can treat this as the start of a chain of small victories. Financial matters are looking up, but avoid big-ticket purchases for now; if you don’t have a rainy day fund, start one.
Taurus: If you’ve spent the last seventeen months figuring out how to live in a way that’s larger than life, you’ve got a month to go — go on a big adventure! — but there’s a risk that you’ll overstep your bounds with your partners (business, romance, rivalry) unless you communicate your plans. Even if they don’t approve, they deserve to know — especially since your own tribal situation is bright and loving and they’re wrestling with big secrets in their own familial line, and challenging professional circumstances. Your money situation may come to light by accident or deliberate revelation, but your friends and co-workers may ask for a loan you don”t feel comfortable giving. Have an answer for them that isn’t circuitous nonsense.
Gemini: Whether your giving a big speech on stage or writing an epic news story or planning a YouTube debut, communication is your rare gift this week. Don’t delay too long on making your major presentations, though, or negotiating your new salary or compensation package. You are going to be recognized for your contributions, and acknowledged in important ways by your most intimate friends or your siblings. However, don’t neglect home, either — important issues related to your self-care are likely to rise to your attention in the next ten days, and you will find that a piece of jewelry or beadwork brings you peace of mind or serves as a reminder of important meanings. At work, you’re going to spend a lot of time wandering around while never quite meeting the center; think about how deeply your plans are tied to real-world facts and figures, and don’t let the boss get too far ahead of reality this week.
Cancer: You may find that you’re shining a light on your friends and colleagues with greater intensity than usual, and in that sort of light you may find that you want to love them more… or leave them sooner. Try to remember that they’re just people, and nobody is perfect in the sort of glaring light you’re casting in their direction. A big financial hardship may reveal itself, especially if you’re self-employed, in the coming days; it’s possible that it takes you until October to make a full recovery. Make plans and keep them so that you can renegotiate your payment with more ease. Attend to family matters with awareness that these are binding ties, but they’re also the result of organic relationships that change with the seasons: trees are perennial but they don’t do the same things in summer and winter or even year to year. What necessary education for your professional and romantic life are you avoiding — is it a job certification, or couples therapy, or a workshop on etiquette or partnered dance? Just take it already.
Leo: The idea for a small business usually hits new entrepreneurs like a lightning flash, and they rush into business before they’ve thought through the whole situation. Other people find a little success, and then dither for months trying to figure out what to do next. Recognize that you have expertise here, but that it may take until October or November to build a plan that is founded on fact and reality. At the same time, don’t dither… if this big idea of yours is going to launch, you need to work on it a little bit so that it can come to life. Put your ideas on paper, computer screen or stone tablets to move forward. There’s a friend that has been an important anchor in your life for years, and a money-issue between you has a chance to be resolved this week: forgiveness or repayment are just two of the options. You can expand your work responsibilities too, this time around, though, try not to expand beyond your abilities— your boss faces a crisis over the next year, and you want some energy free to deal with that.
I have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it continues its third year. Those funds support artists, artisans and thinkers that I regard as contributing to the well-being of the world. You can also buy me a Ko-fi in $3 increments; 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.
If you want to read some of my astrologically-oriented poetry, the largest collection is called A Full Volume of Splendor and Starlight, available through my Etsy shop, and containing poems and hymns to the planets, constellations, decan deities, and Moon Mansion angels. 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.
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. I also 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 for much of my planetary delineations. Neither gentleman endorses me.