Cancer is one of the most ancient constellations, although also one of the hardest to see with the naked eye. It has been imagined as the Manger where Christ was born, a flower, a tortoise, a scarab and our own symbol of a crab, who walks backward, echoing the Sun’s movement at Summer Solstice. The twinkling nebula in the middle of Cancer is now known as the Beehive, an image of home, nurturing and sweetness. Since earliest times, this constellation has been linked with life, the protection of it, and the sacredness of it: life as a universal concept, life for the Earth, and life for the individual species, a family. Cancer was called the ‘Gate of Men’ - our souls pass through it to descend from the heavens to incarnate into the physical body. The visionary environmentalist Thomas Berry, who just died on June 1, described in his book, The Great Work, the past cultural great works of humanity and then described the work our modern culture must take up: to learn how to live in harmony on our beautiful blue-green planet. This month is a good time to watch the movie Home.
The beginning of Summer, when the Sun moves into the sign of Cancer, arrives one day ahead of our first Cancer new Moon this year. With this first of 2 new Moons in Cancer falling within the 3-day-long solar standstill of Summer Solstice (the folks out here are celebrating the ’09 Summer of Love’ and the artistic power of the 60s is back on Broadway!), this Summer Solstice will be powerful. With the Moon at its closest to Earth, the psychic atmosphere will be humming.
What will set it vibrating? Lots of things. The strongest energy influencing this season and new Moon is the planet Pluto, in the beginning degrees of Capricorn opposite the Cancer Sun and Moon. Since October 2008, when Pluto first entered Capricorn, the sign of our collective institutions, such as governments, corporations, financial systems, we have seen the structural decay at the root of our patriarchal (Capricorn symbolizes the Father and the State) vision of life. Money, domination, power and greed can’t be the values we base our lives on. Pluto, as the energy of death and re-birth, will reform these systems, whether we like it or not. It will be our choice to deal with it consciously or not. We have the capability to really transform the world; we just have to go about it with determination and vision.
We can’t put new wine into old wineskins anymore. Pluto stands opposite the Sun and Moon this Summer Solstice (Winter Solstice down South) and demands a different birth – the birth of a new God/dess image. What will humanity choose? A warrior god, a nurturing mother, or perhaps an equal couple, man and woman, god and goddess creating a new world together. It’s our choice.
Pluto energy demands that we get rid of whatever is worn out and dead. Opposite the Cancer energies, it demands an honest appraisal of our emotional needs and our security issues. It forces us to look at the issues of power (Pluto) and love (Cancer). Which is more important to you? Because love cannot flourish where power holds sway. We can be empowered by love, but if we love power for its own sake, we lose out on love.
As Lord of Death, Pluto is the Great Initiator. Pluto shows us the depths and makes us confront ourselves, so we can also reach for the heights. We need to go through a death so that the new life we want to create has a chance to grow into its own creative power. That’s what these next few years will provide us – a space to accept the death and re-birth of our world. Pluto is also the god of hidden wealth, and promises that anyone who ventures into the underworld has an opportunity to reclaim her/his part of the collective wealth of our species.
So in the midst of this high holiday of summer light and delight (remember A Midsummer’s Night Dream takes place at Summer Solstice), we are confronted with the task to face our mortality. Take death as your advisor and make something of yourself. The 2 Cancer new Moons will offer the nurturing you need. Instead of wasting your energy on worry, focus it on creativity. What is the most creative use of your time? What creative ideas do you need to nurture?
There is also the re-energized ongoing opposition between Uranus (the New) and Saturn (the Old), once again gearing up for a third opposition now that Saturn is moving forward again in Virgo (get your life in order) and Uranus (the vision and the possibilities) is slowing down to turn retrograde on July 1st. We can see this energy at work in Iran as the people there take to the streets to fight for change and their human rights. This is the beginning of the next part of the 60s cycle, when Pluto, Uranus and Saturn form a T-square, and the energy pushes for real change; this aspect will continue through 2011. For us, it’s time to integrate the next level of our vision. These 2 planets will oppose each other again September 15th.
Next, there will be 2 new Moons in Cancer, with an unusual 3 (2 lunar and 1 solar) eclipses in July and August. Eclipses end and begin new cycles of growth. Every 12 to 18 months the lunar cycle flips and it begins with either a double new or full Moon, because there is a 13th lunar month we have to integrate into our modern solar calendar. The last doubling up of full moons in one sign occurred in May 2008. When it happens, we get a blue moon – two full moons in the same zodiac sign in the month.
We’ve just come through the part of the larger cycle where the new Moon comes before the full Moon in the lunar cycle. Then when the cycle shifts at the 2nd new Moon in Cancer on July 21, the next full Moon will be in an incompatible sign (Cancer/Aquarius instead of the usual Cancer/ Capricorn), So that Aquarius full Moon now comes before the Leo new Moon! That’s the part of the cycle we’re shifting into this astrological month. It changes your perspective – you get to see yourself from a different angle. It’s not always comfortable because it’s an adjustment period. So take it slow.
With 2 new Moons in Cancer this month, the cosmic story is telling us to plant well and often, and to water your new life from the vast ocean of the collective unconscious:J know what your heart wants, so later you will use your talents to get it; nurture what’s important to you, and love it so well that it grows and blossoms; be aware of your feelings, both ‘good and bad’, then drop the judgment and just listen to what they tell you about yourself and the world; be open to images and visions and be creative with the answers you receive.
Trust yourself! When the Sun moves into Cancer, the Great Mother appears again to enrich the new life growing within you. It’s a time for family and home. With Pluto traveling through the opposite sign of Capricorn, we’ll re-discover how important family and home really are as our cultural structures get renewed. Perhaps we’ll finally pay mothers and fathers to stay home and raise their kids well.
Cancer is attuned to the Moon and to the oceans and tides, the vast surging waters that originally gave us life. It is attuned to the soul. We treat our souls like we treat the oceans, not seeing its real value, polluting it with toxic ideas and images. (Holllywood, it’s time to go green and stop polluting our psyches!) Now we have dead zones of plastic garbage, larger than the state of Texas, floating out in the Pacific. Isn’t it time we stopped using plastic? Isn’t it time to stop being afraid (Cancer does have security issues) and start trusting that you have the answers inside you? Your soul wants you to pay attention and nurture the seed ideas, the newborn projects, with care and devotion.
As someone with a natal Cancer Moon, I can say truthfully that there’s nothing so wonderful as a well functioning Cancer Moon, for it gives you vast resources and the instinctive wisdom of LIFE so you can nurture other life-forms. Who doesn’t need a really good mother once in a while? We’ve forgotten to respect the archetype of ‘Mother’ or see its sacred function.
That’s what the Summer Solstice is all about. If we lived within the cycle of the seasons, we’d know that Summer Solstice marks the culmination of the building, outgoing, light yang energy and the beginning of the ingoing, reflective, dark yin energy. The Mother mediates the transition, just as She does at Winter Solstice when She gives birth to the Son/Sun.
This is a time for women to be honored as Lover and Mother, desired and valued for her fertile wisdom. And just as the Sun sends his light, strong and full, to be received by the Earth during these days to ensure the harvest, it is time for men to show us their higher consciousness, their awareness of how important LIFE is to them. This is the time of the Sacred Marriage between Heaven and Earth. On a human scale, it is a time for men and women to honor each other and find common ground, and for individuals to unite their masculine and feminine energies.