Have you felt extra emotional or anxious since the Solstice on June 21? Have issues or feelings from the past surfaced in your life or in the lives of your family and friends? Do you have a sense that something is shifting both within yourself and in the outside world?
If so, you are feeling the annual effects of the Sun's movement through the astrological sign Cancer, which is ruled by the tender, changeable Moon and is associated with night. Yet this year's Cancer time brings us something more: as of Saturday, July 12, we will enter an energetic tunnel for the next two weeks that will help us move "out of darkness, into light" as we make our way from Cancer to Leo.
So if you've been feeling depleted or tired and wondering when spirits will brighten and things will change for the better, know that the end of July likely will feel quite different from early July.
Leaving the Cosmic Womb, Birthing Our Nobler Selves
Since June 25, 2013, giant Jupiter has occupied Cancer and brought us significant expansion in areas associated with this sign: water, memories, nostalgia, and tradition. Issues related to women, mothers and children, families, protection, emotional security, and nurturing also have demanded our attention. In addition, you may have experienced wisdom in the form of intuition, sensitivity, emotional intelligence, and a desire to comfort or protect.
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According to astrological tradition, Jupiter is exalted in Cancer, meaning that it can express its energy easily and "feels happy" while in this watery, maternal sign. Perhaps the most obvious example of this exaltation comes in a pregnant woman's body, which expands over time to contain a growing child. Within the womb's darkness, something evolves and grows as it prepares to venture into the outer world's light.
Over the past year, we have had a collective opportunity to hold ourselves within a personal, emotional womb as we experienced heightened feelings, deep stress associated with this past April's intense planetary energies, and opportunities to plant the seeds of our future selves. If you have risen to Jupiter's challenge to grow wiser and more noble in all things Cancer, you likely have learned how to restore balance when undergoing intense emotions, how to care deeply for yourself so you feel rested and nurtured, and how to extend a mother's loving kindness to all creation.
During this past year, you may have had to reckon with all your grudges and resentments and learn how to let them go. You also may have had to figure out how to cherish your sensitivity while protecting yourself in daily life; in some cases, you may have had to let go of self-images, relationships, work commitments, or living arrangements that did not support your essential nature. At the same time, you may have had glimmers of how much better your life could be, and you may have begun planting seeds for future change by allowing yourself to create new thoughts, new hopes, and new dreams.
If your seeds reflect your higher nature and your heart's desire, they likely have begun taking root already. Now, as we pass through July's energy tunnel, we can begin bringing our creations out of the past year's womb and into the light that we will begin to experience when Jupiter and the Sun both leave Cancer this month and enter sunny, fiery Leo. This sign is ruled by the mighty Sun and is associated with light and the day as well as creativity, childhood, and the heart.
July's Tunnel: Mark Your Calendar
Over the next two weeks, many shifts will come our way as we experience July's cosmic tunnel filled with several planetary changes:
Saturday, July 12: Full Moon, 6:26 a.m. CDT (11:26 a.m. Greenwich time). This is our last full Moon during Jupiter's current tour of Moon-ruled Cancer. The Moon will be in sober Capricorn, opposite Cancer, giving us a last chance to take care of Cancer tasks. Open your heart to receive any final insights and take time to honor all that you felt and forgave over the past year.
Saturday, July 12: Mercury leaves Gemini, one of the signs it rules, for Cancer. Mercury expresses strongly in the sign of the Twins, and it helps sharpen our minds and our talent for commerce and contracts. During its time in Cancer, from July 12 through 31, our minds will turn to home, food, and family. It also will sharpen our memory: use this time to look back over the last 13 months of Jupiter's time in Cancer so you can honor how much you have accomplished and how much you have changed. Spend extra time savoring memories of how much you cared for others and of how much care you received in turn.
Wednesday, July 16: Jupiter leaves Cancer for Leo, where it will remain until August 11, 2015. Jupiter's time in the sign of the Crab has intensified the Uranus-Pluto square and forced us to change, even when we didn't want to. It also has enabled us to turn the corner on difficult obstacles, so you may have been able to break through to new solutions this year. Finally, Jupiter's time in Cancer has created a flowing pattern with Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Scorpio, making this year extra watery and emotional; although this alignment may have made us weepy or despairing at times, it also has given us crucial emotional data allowing us to see what has gone seriously out of balance in our lives and accept what must, finally, change. At its best, this water trine has let us tap spiritual power to see us through tough times.
Friday, July 18: Venus leaves airy Gemini for watery Cancer, where it remains until August 12. The planet of love and beauty will heighten Cancer's feminine vibe to make us more sensitive and nurturing; it also will spark the Crab's deep imagination and enable us to create refined beauty on all planes. Use this time to love, make meals that are beautiful as well as delicious, and return to household activities and hobbies that make your heart sing.
Sunday, July 20: Saturn, which has been retrograde in Scorpio since March 2 (meaning it has appeared to be moving backwards), will begin moving forward again. Whenever a planet changes direction, it appears to slow down before the shift and to stand still in the sky for a time. Use this natural pause to think deeply about your duties and responsibilities, your ability to behave maturely, and your vision for old age. Consider how the last four months have changed your perspective on Scorpio's themes of birth, death, sexuality, and transformation and your experience in joint financial resources such as insurance, bonuses, loans, and inheritances.
Monday, July 21: Uranus, which has been in Aries since March 2011, will begin its annual retrograde, which will last until December 21. Who are you? No, who are you REALLY? Is your identity based on what others want you to be or on old dreams or goals that long ago outlived their usefulness? Or have you accepted your birthright of inner direction via inspiration and the soul's longing? Uranus helps us awaken to our inner lives and exercise our true genius; in coming months we can review how well we're doing in this area and make plans to embrace freedom by shedding whatever doesn't fit with our true selves.
Tuesday, July 22: The Sun will leave Cancer for Leo at 4:42 p.m. CDT (9:42 p.m. Greenwich time). Say goodbye to lunar energies, nighttime wonderings, and homebody tendencies for another year and say hello to a month of solar energies, daylight passions, and desires for creativity and being on stage. Then use your experiences to guide the next 12 months, as Jupiter extends the Leo party and invites the inner child each of us keeps tucked away to finally come out to play.
Friday, July 25: Warrior planet Mars, which has been traveling through Libra since December 7, 2013, will move into Scorpio and energize deep transformation until September 13. Have you given energy to your relationships this year? Have you enjoyed your sexuality and experienced the pleasures of being in a love relationship? Have you strengthened all your partnerships, both personally and professionally? Use the time before July 25 to review all your relationships and honor just how far you've come; then use the time of Mars in Scorpio to deepen those relationships that matter most to you and seek ways to stabilize them for the long term.
Saturday, July 26: We will experience a new Moon in Leo, giving us a chance to set beautiful new intentions not only for the month ahead but for an entire year, as Jupiter will occupy generous, exuberant Leo for the coming year. What does the child within you really want? When was the last time you clowned around, just for the fun of it? What creative talents did you leave behind when life got so serious in recent months and years? Now is the time to reawaken your specialness and all your gifts so your heart can fill with joy and your pleasure can push outward to enrich others' lives.
How to Make the Most of Your Personal Tunnel
With so many planets changing signs and changing direction, the next two weeks will bring constantly changing energy and pressures to complete old projects so we're ready for new adventures. Simply being aware of these shifts can help you manage them more effectively. Mark your calendar now so you can visualize what's coming and prepare for it.
In addition, clear your calendar as much as possible so you can get extra rest, take extra time to care for yourself and your loved ones, and have time to experience this process consciously and fully. Also, get set to clear the decks--and your desk. Do whatever you can to clear out what must go from your life and create space for new ideas, projects, and relationships to enter your life.
During this phase, allow yourself to complete whatever Cancer-related work remains for you. Feel your emotions, use your mind to make sense of them, and then make constructive decisions to address the imbalances or lacks indicated by your strongest, most persistent feelings.
Here Comes the Sun
At the same time, let yourself begin to welcome back joy and optimism so you can have fun with the coming year's strongly Leo energy. Let the Sun come back to your life in a big way by letting its golden beams play over you and enjoying its warmth and life-giving light.
As we pass through the tunnel from womb to birth, from Cancer to Leo, take time to become more aware of both the Moon and the Sun. If possible, go outside this weekend to gaze at the full Moon. If you can arrange it, get up before dawn one morning, acknowledge nature's darkness, and go outside to enjoy the sunrise. Face the east, see the sky gradually lighten, and welcome the Sun as it comes to us for another day. (Use caution: never gaze directly at the Sun.) If a sunrise experience is not possible for you at this time, simply enjoy sunlight during the day and give thanks for the fiery orb that centers our solar system.
In addition, enjoy the Moon and Sun watercolor here and let it inspire your reflections on both these luminaries. As Leo energy grows in importance later this month (especially on July 16, 22, and 26), take a few moments to enjoy the Sun image in the painting above.
Part of Leo's promise can be found in our hearts: at any moment of any day or night, we can bring light to ourselves and others by choosing a sunrise over darkness. At any moment, we can start over and claim the light: simply remember that our true Sun is a spiritual one, tucked inside the soul.
Wishing you beautiful inspirations as you move through July's tunnel and emerge into Leo's celestial light. May the spirit of sunrise ever remain in your heart and throughout your life.