Sun in Cancer II: Heracles

The Sun enters Cancer II on July 1 2023 at 10:37 pm EDT. This is the Secret Garden, according to Austin Coppock‘s titling … and it’s the realm of Heracles or Hercules, the half-divine hero of Ancient Greek myth, the warrior who completed the Twelve Labors. It’s also the home of 15° Cancer, allegedly the place of the Ascendant and the Moon in the Thema Mundi, the mythic “birth chart of the world.”

When the religious professionals and scholars of Roman-era Alexandria set up the civic calendar, the apparently gave this decan to Hercules (or Heracles) as his festival season. Yet the story told of him at this time of year appears not to have been the Twelve Labors we all know and love, but the tale of his period of residency in the court of Hippolyta the queen of the Amazons. She put on his armor and carried his weapons; while making him dress as a woman and sat with her serving girls learning to spin and weave, for a year and a day.. This was the only thing that cured the “madness of Hera” in him. Today we would call that madness something like PTSD from being in the military and killing all those monsters in solo combat. Is the solution to combat stress, the temporary transition to other gender roles? Can we imagine a world in which transitions of many different kinds, temporary or permanent, help heal our hearts and minds of the deep injuries that plague them?

It’s the decan of Mercury the communicator and expert. Today, on July 1 at 1:01 am EDT, the Sun and Mercury did a little dance at 9° Cancer called the Mercury cazimi, or “Mercury in the heart of the Sun” — a little magical moment when the communications we need to have become clear (even if we’re not actually ready to have them yet). For those of us on the US east coast, snug in our beds, it may have manifested as a dream or a wide-awake insight on a sleepless night about an important family matter; for those on the west coast, it was likely about a work-related matter; for those in the middle of the country… it’s a case where you couldn’t figure out if it was about a hobby, or sex, or your kids. Whichever it is, try to put your insight into words, on paper, as quickly as you can: these things tend to evaporate like June snow, ephemeral and rare.

The dodeks or 12th parts of Cancer II are recapitulations of Scorpio (Cancer 10°00′ to 12°29′), Sagittarius (Cancer 12° 30′ to 14° 59′), Capricorn (Cancer15°00′ to 17° 29′) and Aquarius (Cancer 17°30′ to 19° 59′). It’s possible to consider these as the intensity and secrecy of Hercules’s emotional anger that he is unable to control; the quest to seek out help and comfort; the initial horror but acceptance of the regimen laid down by Hippolyta as “the only way” to draw out his heartache; and the new personal knowledge that can only from living a year in a previously-unimaginable role.

Planetary Placements

With the Sun below the horizon, we’re looking at a Night Chart in which the Moon, Venus, and Mars all hold dignity. Yet the Moon is in a succedent house, and in the Twenty-First Mansion The City — a dive bar (some would say a backroom sex club) where high-ranking civil servants, police officers, and other “defenders of public morals” have the opportunity to get nasty with other people’s spouses and each other; and where the publicly virtuous are able to explore and honor their private villainies. It’s also a place where real estate brokers and construction magnates give and get bribes in the course of daily operations — who doesn’t love a little secret corruption in the dead of night? In the Eleventh House, you may find that people who you thought were your friends are muttering behind your back. Conspiring? Too early to say. Unpleasant truths may be revealed, but you may need to see several signals in a row before clarity emerges. Venus and Mars in the last decan of Leo The Banner and the Seventh House promise both exposure and transparency — it may not matter what comes to light, but it will come to light. Will anyone care or do something? That remains to be seen.

The Lot of Fortune in the Eighth House and Virgo invites us to grow organically into some of our duties and responsibility. Do you have a garden? It needs weeding and tending. Aging parents? Do a tech assessment — are they falling behind on understanding the modern world? Do they need a refresher? Do you have an ancestor practice, or plan to start one? Your shrine may need a bit of freshening. Connecting with the land where you live? Find something edible, or useful, and use it: nibble on something delicious, dye something or make cordage or a basket.

The Nodal Axis gets ready to shift from Taurus-Scorpio, to Aries-Libra. The transition takes place on July 18, but the last degree and a half will function a bit like the anaretic (or last) degree in a sign usually does: a last bit of hovering up of the good stuff from house and home, and an expulsion of crap into the workplace or some last-call damage to your public reputation. Taurus will kick a few challenging cans of family ooze down the road for another six months, while Scorpio promises to that your own mouth will get you in trouble. Watch your language!

Pluto in the twelfth house invites entrepreneurial thinking but requires a period of retreat or aloofness in order to makes plans and develop strategies. There’s a suggestion here that you can just sit in your chair and “make stuff happen” by talking to the Internet. However, it’s important to note that the wealthy planet is retrograde — you can imagine, plan and scheme all you want, but sooner or later you will have to know what you’re doing.

The Ascendant touches on that expectation from Pluto, as its located in the first house in the decan called Heaven and Earth in Aquarius — a placement that calls to mind both human ideals for a better world, and the practical realities of what can be achieved “right now” or “soon.” The world is littered with evidence of vaporware — cool and interesting ideas for products and services that never amount to much. Ursula K. LeGuin noted that capitalism seems inescapable, but so did the divine right of kings — the ideas are needed, but so is the implementation.

In the second house we find Saturn in the Labyrinth and Neptune in The Cup of Blood, two of the decans of Pisces. We’re likely to find that there are structural problems with our financial situtation in the next ten days that require some significant sorting-out; but there will also be projects and possessions which command our enthusiasm and emotional attachment in ways that are outsized to their value. It’s a good time to face down the piles of extra clothes in your closet and bureaus, for example — and it may be easier to acknowledge and release garments that suited you when you were younger and fitter, but don’t serve the body you have now.

In the fourth house we find Jupiter about to transition from the first decan of Taurus to the second, and Uranus disrupting the third. In general, this tells us a story of needing to establish routines at home even in the face of confusion and irregularity, while also shortening our timelines from planning six months out to only a few weeks or days at a time. The next ten days are likely to be disrupted and contentious; try to make your home life easy even in the face of limited or uncertain timeframes. (Worth mentioning that you’ll find more happiness doing something real, like making something handmade, based on the position of the Imum Coeli.)

In the sixth house, the Mercury Cazimi is already over, but we have both the Sun and Mercury in the decan called The Secret Garden, administered by Mercury. It’s a reminder that in all your daily labors over the next week or so, reserve some time for what you want to create and build, which serves your soul purpose in this life. Only you can communicate that truth and that ideal to the world— give yourself permission to work on just exactly that in the next ten days.

Horoscopes by rising sign

Thanks to the generosity of a patron on, the horoscopes for Cancer II are free to all readers.

Aquarius: It’s a time for leading from your ideals — but also recognizing what you can practically accomplish. You’re going to be pulled in two directions financially these next ten days: you recognize the need for saving a rainy day fund and having a pool of resources, but you also have both bills and impulse purchases that need paying too. Some financial self-education is needed. At home, you have a longer “to do list” than usual, but ongoing upsets make it difficult to make progress. Draw up some specific plans to do what you need to do. In romance or in discussions with your business partner, be aware that it’s going to be make-up, then fight, for a little while — focus on the story of your permanent shared resources rather than on the temporary interpersonal conflict, and work as a team rather than as individuals.

Pisces: Exercise restraint on pulling out your wallet every time, but know that some impulse purchases are still going to slip through. You would be honored for donating your time to a family member with a household project, but it’s also likely to run off the rails: keep your patience and warn your spouse it will take extra time. If there’s a matter of sexual fantasy, or an issue that arose in therapy, that you want to discuss with your significant other — there are few better times for opening up about it than TODAY. In your workplace, it’s going to be a series of meetings to argue about projects that were (or should have) been decided already — advise the organic solution that let’s resources flow to where they’ll bear the most fruit. If you don’t know where that is, trust the data from your friends.

Aries: Sometimes your focus in the next ten days is going to be on intimate communication — revelation of secrets, and sharing of trauma for release from shame. And sometimes it’s on sexual flirtation, without the intention of going all the way. Sometimes people are not good at telling the difference between them, though. So maybe cut through the coquetries, and say what you really want? Your financial issues will be bound up with family and household repairs — and yes, some people will need this explained to them when you spend a couple of hours at the hardware or grocery store. If you’re single, you may find yourself intrigued by a new romantic entanglement, which may or may not last. But —if you’re already partnered, be wary of flirtatious temptation from beyond your relationship’s bounds. You might feel like it’s time for a change, but there’s nothing on offer as permanent as what you have.

Taurus: You’re going to want to be close to home in the next ten days, but have a hard time remaining so — and so you might want to think about what sorts of things make wherever you are, into home.  Part of it might be having a favorite pillow for a chair, or traveling with your yoga mat; it might be having the right cosmetics or tools. It might be listening to the right music, or saying good night to the right person. One way or another, you’re going to have to communicate your daily needs to your inner circle, so what you want and need isn’t lost in the confusion.  And this is going to require you to communicate with your partner instead of arguing.  One thing to be aware of is that your time of self-involvement may be reaching its natural end; by the end of this month, you’re going to want more alone time and more time to plan your next couple of years — and daily routines will be frustrating for a while, as a result. But hold onto routines, and don’t retreat from the world completely.

Gemini: The work of your hands — chopping vegetables and fruit for meals, weeding your garden, knitting, carving wood, stringing beads — can be a source of deep comfort and peace in the next ten days, which is good because your alone time will be disrupted and your financial picture may be something you want to keep hidden from others out of shame. Your lover or business partner may be a source of contentment one moment, and contention the next; your boss may be a visionary maniac in the morning and a cantankerous penny-pincher by afternoon (or vice versa). The clarity of your imagined “better world” will be so strong, and yet you’ll be embedded in the web of obligations that holds you to the current patterns.  Discern what you want from your partners and closest allies, and tell them — and remind them that you love them, even when they don’t do what you want them to.

Cancer:  There’s a lot to do in the next ten days, and a lot to communicate to others. But first, sit in your secret place and decide carefully what needs to be shared and with whom.  There are secrets that you should keep close to your heart in contentment, that might only go into a handwritten journal.  And there are other things, both soulful and important but also materially disruptive to your plans, that can be shared with your friends over drinks at home. There are employment issues that you should reveal (in writing if it’s bad enough).  If you’re partnered, you probably have to figure out how to share some big financial news with your partner, too, who also owes you some explanations of their own financial picture, which now affects you a lot more than it used to.  You’re about to start 18 months of needing to balance professionalism with home life, and home is going to suffer for it — but keep reminding yourself that you’re learning a new balance, and that you are capable and strong enough to do this.  Keep learning from your mistakes.

Leo: You may be head over heels for someone new in your life, romantically or professionally — someone you could start a business with, or someone you could get married to.  And this is not to say you’re wrong… but even so, slow down. The sex, or the economic vision, of a shared future may be fantastic.  Your friends may think you’ll do great together.  but you should still do your due diligence. Are your philosophical and ethical visions aligned? Have you really sat down and talked heart to heart about what you want your daily routines to be like if you live together?  Are your business and professional visions aligned, if you’re talking about that kind of partnership? If it’s romantic, are there any red flags in what this partner says? Be alert to familial challenges, too, during summer get-togethers. All in all, if it seems great now… you can afford to collect data for six months before moving to the next step. Your happiness… or your relief at dodging a mess … will be clearer then, than it is now.

Virgo: A review of your responsibilities is in order, starting with obligations to the planet, and then working your way down the chain of being from continent to country, to state or province, to county or riding, to town or parish, to neighborhood or ward or district.  And then there’s employers, friends, family members too. DOn’t forget about service providers to whom you pay bills, like electric and water companies.  What are you leaving out? Who are you ignoring?  You have discretion to release yourself from some of these obligations in the next ten days, and it will prove useful to do so (both now and over the next year and a half). Others are what the government calls entitlements, and you can no more be free of them than you can do without air or water or sunlight.  Recognize that this fight is largely between your personal willpower and your desire for luxury and entertainment — and, as some of the first striking laborers in the USA ever shouted, “It’s not just bread, we need roses too.”  Don’t prune away all your roses for the sake of bread.  Yes, you have jobs to do, and yes — you have projects where all the deadlines seem a lot closer than they used to.  And yes, your romantic attachments may suddenly seem a lot more fluid and contradictory than before… decide where you can accept a little eccentricity, and where you have to expect some structural integrity.

Libra: Get by with a little help from your friends.  No, it’s not just a pretty song — you have some arguments with some longstanding allies and partners coming in the next ten days, and the next Year and A Half. And part of this is going to require that you come to terms with some  of your own toxic behaviors, and adjust how you run your household and manage your money.  So… make a plan to 1) get clarity from your employer or employers around their planning for the next two years. Recognize that they’re not going to tell you outright, so read the annual report, look at the quarterly statements, and form your own judgement about your place in the company’s ability to perform.  2) Make a stab at understanding the practical realities of your current situation, and the larger vision of who you’d like to be two years from now. Are you living in a way that draws you closer to that purpose?  What changes can you make that draws you toward that goal?  3) What is your relationship withyourself when you’re alone on significant soil? Where and how do you get your hands dirty, and love being dirty, because you’re in right relationship with your own natural inclinations?  It may take you two years to answer these… start now.

Scorpio: For nearly a year and a half, it feels like every bad thing that could come at you, has come at you.  That subjective experience of bad fortune is about to change… as long as you don’t spend too much time on your own, or getting in your own way. The last chunk of trouble may come in the form of one last financial hit in the next 10-20 days, but it’s likely to be followed by some time spent with close chosen or blood family, and a chance to do work you really enjoy and are good at, that helps set a longer-range vision.  And yes, there might be some pleasant entertainment with a partner of your preferred gender, too, and some surprise opportunities to travel, and make a living.  All of that is great. But recognize that you’re at the beginning of a period of needing to frame a daily schedule and routine for health and for professional success… and that’s going to require you to bring your product and potential, your skills and services to market.  Parts of that will suck, but it will also be personally invigorating and exciting.  Lean into the transformation as it begins in the next 20 days.

Sagittarius: There’s a temptation to think that you can fix the problems of the world right now by giving advice — but you also have to follow your own advice. This means acknowledging that you have financial obligations that you need to clearly outline; and acknowledge that sometimes you have to have your butt in your chair to make money; and that there’s back-and-forth trades of effort and emotion to keep life in your family on a smooth track; and that your daily routines are going to be disrupted a while longer yet; and that you have a lot to learn about being in a steady relationship, even after what may feel like “all this time, almost forever.” And yes, you may want to continue to grow and professionalize your employment.  Yes, you want to have it all.  But this requires that you learn how to take your own medicine, and be the physician that heals yourself.  Sometimes this means saying to the world, I’m sorry for what I have done that makes you like this. But I still love you, and I thank you with all my heart for what you have given me. Find your own way into this statement, and make it yours, and your next ten days will be an amazing start to what comes next.

Capricorn: If you’re alone, are you a leader? If you’re a leader, is this a job you can do alone? You’ve been in a situation for a year and a half where friends have been a source of trouble rather than support; and right now you may want to cut loose from all the people telling you how to fly right, steer straight, hold to a responsible course. But those folks have got some reasonable points. You have some expectations about your financial picture that don’t match reality, and you’ve been leaning on friends that imagine a better world but don’t try to build it. How can you find your way back to a community that values structure, that respects real boundaries, and acknowledges the scaffolding that makes for a nice place to live? If you can find your way toward that in the next ten days, you will discover a home where you can pursue hobbies and where your kids can thrive, and you can find contentment with your co-workers and spouse or significant other. This involves recognizing that you are sharing resources with others in order to make a better life for all those gathered around your fire — and it’s true that people don’t always notice when the fire has burned low and needs more fuel… but have you told them you need help?


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.

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