Today, July 7, Mercury stations retrograde in Leo. The planet of communication, travel, detailed thinking, translating ideas, and moving between the worlds will move backwards through the first few degrees of Leo and into Cancer until stationing direct on August 2. Over the last few years, Mercury retrograde periods have gotten a lot of bad press, mainly on social media. Please remember: Mercury moving retrograde is not the end of the world; it happens several times each year. Rather, Mercury retrograde periods are an invitation for review, reflection, and reconsideration of where we have been, what we have learned, and how we communicate that to others. It’s a time to re-read the email or text message before you press send, to go back through your journals or correspondences to notice the lessons that weren’t apparent the first time through. It might be a time of reconnecting with people we thought were no longer part of our paths, because there’s still something we’re trying to teach ourselves in those exchanges. It’s a time for patience, deep listening, and feeling into the wisdom of your body as you reflect. As Mercury moves from Leo back in Cancer, the focus might move from your outward facing presentation to a reflection on what you come from, your personal origin story, and your feelings about who you have been.
When Mercury turns back to retrace its path, it is conjunct Mars in Leo with a pretty tight square to Uranus. Leo is a fixed fire sign to likes to blaze brilliantly, to be seen and celebrated, and Mars likes to take action, charge ahead, and fight through whatever is blocking the path. Square to Uranus—the planet of disruption, upheaval, and sudden change—this can be a volatile, explosive mix. Mercury is asking us to reflect and review, take our time to consider before speaking, but Mars in Leo square Uranus does not hesitate to speak, however impulsive or incendiary. Today and throughout the next few weeks, there could be a strong impulse to say what has been unsaid, to blurt out the smoldering truths that you’ve been holding inside, even if it disrupts your world. Do so with care. No doubt: there are hidden, fiery realities that deserve to be addressed, that require a rampage, that demand that we stand and fight, no matter the upheaval. But especially during a Mercury retrograde, we can be sure: we don’t have all the information, and parts of the situation are yet to be revealed.
Around July 21, when Mercury makes an exact conjunction with the Sun—what the Medieval astrologers called “cazimi”—there might be a sudden burst of clarity or illumination, but remember: Mercury will not be direct until August 2, and will not clear its shadow—the degree range of the retrograde—until around August 16. If at all possible, use this next month as a time for gathering information, strategizing, and learning from your introspective processes. On August 16, as Mercury clears its retrograde shadow once again in Leo, it will make an exact square to Uranus, which sets the stage for revolutionary dialogue, for speaking up and demanding real change. What we learn about ourselves, our histories, and that which has not been said over the next 5 weeks has the capacity to shake the very foundations of our lives and our world.
What are the revolutions that feel inevitable but that you don’t yet know how to address?
What are the radical changes that you feel your nervous system longing for, but for which you don’t yet feel ready to demand—of yourself or your world?
There are lessons you still need to learn as you look back and review. The keys to your own liberation are already there waiting for you, even if you don’t yet see them. Comb back through your own words, meditate as you retrace your steps, carefully consider where you have been and what has brought you to where you are now, and in that process of review, you may encounter the revelation of what it will take to engage in revolution.
I will be out of the country for the next month, so I won’t be booking consults during that time, but I am already booking phone and video consults for late August and early September, and I will have in-person consult dates available again in September if you’re in Columbus. If you feel like you could use some support in making sense of your own life, your path, and your purpose, and you would like to get something on the calendar, you can book a consultation with me here.
Tomorrow, July 2, there will be a solar eclipse at 10º Cancer. For most of the world, the eclipse will not be visible, but astrologically, it still marks a turning point of some kind. That said, there’s often a lot of ambiguity or disagreement amongst astrologers as to how to interpret eclipses. I really appreciate the clarity of Bernadette Brady’s writing on eclipses and the methodology she outlines for delineating them.
Brady writes in Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark:
“Let us imagine eclipses like spotlights shining on the pathway of your life. These lights are not on all of the time but they switch on, catching you in mid-action, so to speak. As this spotlight shines, it will illuminate an area of your life. Whatever has been pushed to one side or shoved under the carpet, will become obvious. This bringing to the surface of hidden problems can be dramatic and emotional. However, it is an opportunity to become aware of issues that may need some work. You can, of course, choose not to work on the problems which have come to the surface; you could choose to blame it all on someone else, and so on. But, this may not lead to a healthy future. If you do choose to accept the challenge offered by the events of the eclipse, then although it may be a hard struggle … the effect of the eclipse could be very long-term. It can change your life” (229-230).
How do we then interpret the particular qualities signified by an eclipse, the specific ways in which it uncovers or brings to the surface opportunities for transformation and change? Each eclipse is part of a series or family of eclipses that move between the North and South poles that unfold for approximately 1280-1300 years. These are known as the Saros Series. Each Saros Series produces an eclipse approximately 10º further along in the zodiac every 18 years. One way we can consider the effects or influences specific to an eclipse is to look at the Saros Series to which it belongs and consider the original chart for that series for what is carried through and carried out within that series.
Tomorrow’s eclipse belongs to the Saros Series 3 North. This cycle began in 991 and will end in 2235. At the start of the cycle, the Sun and Moon were in Gemini, in a sign-based opposition to Neptune in Sagittarius. Saturn and Mars were strong—Saturn in its domicile in Aquarius, Mars exalted in Capricorn. Venus was in detriment or exile in Scorpio with reception from Mars, and Jupiter was in Aries, also with reception from Mars. Mercury was with Venus in Scorpio, square to Saturn by degree.
If we look at this “birth chart” for the series, I would say that wherever this 3 North eclipse lands in your chart—whichever house is occupied by Cancer—you may feel the strong influence of Saturn and Mars, which could demand discipline and determination, structure and assertiveness. In the original chart for this series, both of these planets have considerable dignity, which brings forward their more productive significations. Wherever you have Cancer in your chart, you might feel compelled to start making long-term plans, clarifying boundaries, stepping into your own resolve to take charge in this area of your life. It might also uncover challenges or difficulties in relationships in that part of your life. Communication about what has been buried or hidden may feel limited or restricted, but the eclipse is an opportunity to have those conversations. If you have your birth chart or know your rising sign, see where Cancer is in your chart, and see how these themes might be showing up for you.
As always, if you would like to work one-on-one with the astrology of your chart, you can find out more about my practice and book a consultation here.
I will be traveling for most of July and early August, but will be booking consults for later in August and the beginning of September.