Sunday, July 21st
1:30am PST: Venus in Cancer opposite Pluto in Capricorn, both at 21°44’
Venus’ opposition to Pluto is the last of this summer’s slew of personal confrontations with the planetary god of the underworld. More than anything, Venus in conversation with Pluto draws the fine line where love sours into obsession. On its shadow side, it points out any harm that results from so desperately wanting something or someone to fill a hole, to be something they are not. It can reiterate patterns of abuse, like a victim that engages in what was done to them, reliving trauma in an attempt to solve it, but ultimately feeling trapped until some other force can intervene or facilitate healing from an unbiased place. In an evolved or transcendental expression, this aspect also shows us how the intensity of our focus on something we love has the power to transform that thing, or our relationship to it. It can illustrate how cataclysmic events or endings of relationships might push us forward on our karmic path with a commitment to do better, to learn more, to integrate a deeper understanding so we are prepared the next time we enter a connection that seems to hold any kind of power over us. Venus/Pluto aspects indicate relationship dynamics that affect permanent change, for better or for worse. It is wise to look at what your current relationships are trying to teach you. To get external perspective. To consider your privilege or lack of it in certain partnerships and to start conversations that reveal obsession as a way to dismantle it. Remember that power dynamics often arise out of conditioned ideas of who has the upper hand in many different contexts including, but not limited to: gender, race, sexual preference, religion, upbringing, cultural background, trauma-history (collective or individual), etc. Sometimes, Venus/Pluto aspects cannot transcend trauma. In this case, surrendering an outcome or determining an end to a relationship (to people, places, studies, objects, etc.) can be the healthiest thing for both parties.

5:35am PST: Cazimi Point ~ Sun conjunct MercuryRx at 28°28’
Near the middle of every Mercury retrograde period, Mercury, moving backward, meets up with the Sun. This is known as the Cazimi point. Cazimi is a word derived from Arabic (likely translated from ancient Greek) that means “as if in the heart”. When a planet makes a conjunction to the Sun, it is considered to be “in the heart” of the brilliant luminary, soaking up the power and intelligence of its light. Having just re-entered Cancer, Mercury’s conjunction to the Sun stirs up nostalgic ideas and images with which we may feel profound resonance. These images may be sweet but can also be painful. As a Jew, seeing images and reading stories of the current detention camps instills in me a horrifying resonance and the echoing reminder I was taught as a child; “never again.”

Wherever the sign of Cancer is in our chart, we seek a home. We aim to find and/or create a lineage in that area of our life. A Cazimi here teaches us what is “in the heart of” our own home, or where home can be found in our hearts. In a country to which so many of us came because we were forced to flee home, it is interesting that this retrograde and eclipse season has brought attention to lands and people who’ve been ripped from them. To systems of patriarchy and white supremacy that are attempting to cut the deep roots people have with their home. The Boriquén people protesting a blatantly racist and corrupt government in Puerto Rico. The people of Hawaii protecting Mauna Kea from desecration. People in cages, separated from families by ICE at the border between the US and Mexico and ICE raids multiplying across the country. This Cazimi is designed to help us see that we all come from a lineage that has, on some level, been lost. Asks us to empathize with people who share a desire for home, which is to say, everyone. To rise up, to stand with the those currently facing disconnection. To speak up for a vision of a home that has enough space and resources to support us all. Cancer helps us to navigate the cracks and loopholes in the system. Teaches us to protect what is sacred. Offers care and kindness as it tends wounds and draws power from a deep well of emotion. Listen to the call and do what you can to find and help others in their re-homing. Remember that Cancer often alludes to what is private. To what happens behind the scenes and can’t be shared on social media. Activism isn’t always a rally. Often it is a hard conversation with a loved one. A call to a representative. A dialogue with an employer or local business. For a more complex description of the systemic problems that keep us from reproducing healthy homes and ideas for creating a new/old kind of home, see The Means of Reproduction, an interview with Silvia Federici by Lisa Rudman and Marcy Rein, specifically the question about “commoning” (big heart thank you to White Noise Collective for featuring this as one of the texts for the July ‘19 dialogue). 

Monday, July 22nd
7:51pm PST: Sun enters Leo
In one joyful swoop, the Sun’s entrance into the sign of Leo significantly transfers the ambient energy from somewhat deflated to very creative. While Cancer season isn’t inherently bad or painful, this one was certainly more challenging than most in recent years and we can welcome this solar shift. Eclipse season won’t fully finish its cycle until the New Moon in Leo the following week but the Sun’s ingress into the sign of the Lion elevates spirits and pulls our focus towards more favorable fun. I often describe the sign of Leo as the bonfire that people gather around to stay warm. Leo season in the northern hemisphere is marked with summer celebration, the joy of the Sun’s proximity to the Earth, a moment to rest in the abundance of light before we apprehend shorter days. Leo energy is brilliant and proud, confident and passionate. Embodied, it is an incredible thriving, sustained but ever-moving rhythmic dance.  Let your love rage. Whatever house in your chart contains the sign of Leo is a place of intelligence and a domain where you need to shine. Consider the ways you want or need to be seen. The spaces where you most desire to feel thrilled with your own performance. Don’t be afraid to be dramatic. Now is a time to take to the stage and soak in the sweetness of your own light.

Wednesday, July 24th
5:27pm PST: MercuryRx conjunct Venus at 26°Cancer14’
While Mercury’s retrograde began with a feisty conjunction to the warrior Mars, it approaches its direct station with sweet, coy and caring cues from Venus. This meeting softens the end of the tumultuous retrograde. With all of the personal planets past their annual oppositions to Pluto, Mercury and Venus can find comfort in an affirmative exchange that helps us stabilize connections which may have previously felt unsafe. This aspect is reminiscent of a conflict facilitator. One healthy way to approach arguments is to lay out some safe language, behaviors and guidelines that all participants in a discussion can abide by. Rather than jumping straight into an argument, ask each individual or group involved what they need to feel safe as they navigate the natural friction that comes when we try to find a solution. Take the time to come to agreements of how you will engage in confrontation. Some people might need it to be okay that they walk away. Some might want a stopping or rest point if the conversation extends too long (i.e. pausing to order food and refuel blood sugar). Others might need everyone to agree on language/terminology that won’t be used. Generally, by the time we’ve agreed on how to have a conversation in which everyone feels safe, half of the battle of the conflict has been won by all sides. Now enter any dispute with faith that everyone will be taken care of and notice what creative ideas are raised when everyone shares some common ground.

Thursday, July 25th
5:22am PST: Mars in Leo trine Jupiter in Sagittarius, both at 14°57’
After a very watery start to the summer, this aspect brings the heat, calling to mind the start of California fire season. Perhaps literally, these planets in flowing aspect will emphasize the chaos brought on by climate change and urge us to consider the part we play in causing it. One one level, Mars’ trine to Jupiter can urge our passions and desires to the forefront and encourage dramatic displays of loyalty, justice and willingness to stand for that which we love. On another, they also highlight the dangers of fire when it gets out of control. It is worth noting that fire is action-oriented and this aspect is the first of many that propel the unfolding pace of events into lightning-speed. Use this time to accomplish something that needs to be achieved quickly. Focus on your hope. Romance yourself and others into revolution. Speak up for that which you believe. Remember that Leo loves to love but Mars loves to argue. It’s difficult to argue with yours or anyone else’s love. Have conviction in your loving visions for the earth and its inhabitants and this aspect can take you far in a short amount of time.

Saturday, July 27th
6:54pm PST: Venus enters Leo
With a sweeping bow and a dramatic turn of the hip, Venus saunters into Leo. Venus in Leo is full of expression, grand (or petite) romantic gestures and creative votes of confidence. Stabilizes relationships with plentiful compliments and if you’re lucky, will bestow kisses to tender parts (with consent of course). Venus in Leo offers warm and delighted, albeit watchful, feline-like eyes. Not every kitty is as outgoing as we might assume Leo loves to be - there are plenty of shy cats in the world. Whether assertive or reserved, Venus in Leo lends an artistic bent to our expression. Practice striking a balance between coy and regal. Flirt ferociously. Develop a relationship to whatever likes to shine. Declare where your loyalties lie and back it up with impressive acts of love. Remember that loyalty can exist without monogamy. Is, more than anything, about establishing nobility, honor and integrity in the way you relate yourself to others. So long as you are clear with partners on your relationship ambitions, you are allowed to love however, whomever and wherever you like. Remember too that Venus is a planet that governs all relationships, not just sexual or romantic. While these affairs might get dose of brilliance during the time that Venus sings through Leo, that doesn’t mean connections with friends, family, colleagues and other acquaintances don’t also receive the benefits of her warmth. All relationships are a collaborative act of creation.