August 1 is the traditional date on which witches celebrate Lammas — or Lughnassadh — the First Harvest in the northern hemisphere, the midpoint between the Summer Solstice and the Autumnal Equinox. As a harvest festival, it’s a time for offering gratitude for the abundance of the Earth, for the crops that are starting to yield fruit, and for all the ways our lives are bringing forth bounty. This year as the Sun rises in its domicile of Leo on August 1, it’s in a tight conjunction with Mercury. This superior conjunction is a condition known as cazimi or ‘in the heart of the Sun,’ a time when Mercury disappears into the blazing daylight to be purified and clarified. It is a place of extreme favor and relief for Mercury halfway between its direct and retrograde stations. Messages come through with precision and authority, and the topics for which Mercury is responsible benefit from the good will of the dignified Sun. The Sun in Leo burns with courage, whole-heartedness, and authenticity, calling us to radiate more fully and persistently in our truths. However, this conjunction is also in a tight applying opposition with Saturn, retrograde and also in its domicile of Aquarius. Saturn is in the process of reviewing and revising systems, institutions, rules, and regulations, and in this opposition, we may encounter resistance to what is being revealed during the cazimi. There may be revelations we are harvesting that are not easy to recognize or receive. The waning quarter Moon is exalted in Taurus, separating from a conjunction with Uranus and a T-square with Saturn, Mercury, and the Sun. For this sabbat, may we celebrate the rich abundance of our lives, all the lessons that we are learning from our labor, daring to seek and uncover the truth even as we encounter fear or restrictions from within or without. Stay open to epiphanies and take responsibility for how or when you share what you are coming to understand. Trust that the wisdom of your body is already leading the way.
The Sun enters Cancer at 11:33pm eastern on Sunday, June 20, marking the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere—called Litha in the witches’ Wheel of the Year. The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, at which point the days begin to grow shorter and the nights grow longer. From the peak of its strength, the Sun begins to move toward its symbolic death and rebirth at the Winter Solstice. This year, as the Sun moves into Cancer, its ruler the Moon is in Scorpio, the sign of its fall or depression. The brightest light of the year is revealing where our needs feel unmet, the places that feel neglected or abandoned. The Moon is in the waxing quarter lunation phase, a time of pressing through resistance, overcoming challenges, and establishing the viability of this cycle—proving what is possible even when the support we may be seeking feels absent or unavailable. The Moon is also square Saturn and opposing Uranus in Taurus, wading through the residue of this week’s exact Saturn/Uranus square. Our foundations may feel shaken and unsteady. But the Sun is also applying to a trine with Jupiter in its domicile of Pisces, and it is co-present with Venus in Cancer. Provision may not come from the sources we expect, but there are resources available to us is we follow where the currents are carrying us. As that which you have been grasping is shaken from your trembling hands, surrender to the flow, moving in the direction of abundance rather than clinging to the places where it feels as if there is never enough. May we each trust that our lives are simply tributaries streaming into tides that nourish us even as we pour ourselves into them. As we move from the longest day toward the longest night, may we remember that we are never alone.
[First image reads “Astrology of the Wheel of the Year: LITHA, 20 June 2021” in golden letters on a dark green field of flowers and stars. Second image shows the chart for the moment of the Sun’s ingress into Cancer, and reads “Litha, the Summer Solstice, 20 June 2021, 11:33pm, Columbus, OH, USA”]
As the Sun rises on May 1, we celebrate the traditional midpoint or cross-quarter sabbat between the spring equinox and the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. We are moving through the heart of Taurus season, when the spark of life is erupting through stem and bud and leaf and flower and fruit. The days are getting longer, and we are celebrating the creative potential of all life. This year as we celebrate Beltane, the Sun is conjunct Uranus in Taurus and in a tight square with Saturn in Aquarius. Saturn and Uranus have already made one exact square with one another and will do so again in June. The Sun’s conjunction with Uranus is activating this square, the conflict between structure and freedom, the demand for dynamic adjustment between a revolutionary impulse rooted deeply within our bodies colliding with rigid ideologies about how the world is or must be. Venus, the ruler of the Sun and Uranus, is also in Taurus, its nocturnal domicile, seducing us toward pleasure and satisfaction that grounds and stabilizes as we move through longer-term radical change. Venus is applying to a sextile with Neptune, a dreamy configuration that suggests that fantasy and visioning may offer opportunities for connection and satisfaction that might otherwise seem impossible. The Moon is in Capricorn, the sign of its antithesis or detriment, where we may feel burdened by the weight of work and productivity. The Moon is also in its disseminating phase, moving through a trine with the Sun and Uranus, and we may find that we have learned more than we realize about embodying revolutionary vitality, even in the midst of enduring hard work, and now is the time to share what we know. May the fires of Beltane connect us to pleasure that shakes us free from limited and limiting beliefs about ourselves and what is possible. May we ground ourselves in shared visions and dreams of what will allow us all to live well. And may we dare to embody lives that emit liveliness even under the conditions of struggle.
March 20 is Oestara, the Vernal Equinox in the northern hemisphere, when the Sun ingresses into Aries—the sign of its exaltation—and we celebrate the start of spring. The day and night are equal in length, held in balance before the lengthening days overtake the shorter nights. It is a time for honoring new beginnings and appreciating the return of life after the months of winter hibernation. This year, as the Sun enters Aries, its ruler Mars is in Gemini just two signs away. The waxing crescent Moon is also in Gemini, while the ruler of Gemini—Mercury—is in Pisces, the sign of its antithesis and fall, conjunct the asteroid Pallas. The Sun is exalted in Aries in part because of the days growing longer than the nights, an indication of the Sun increasing in its influence, authority, and strength. Aries is cardinal fire, sparking the flames of new beginnings and the ignition of initiative. With Mars and the Moon in Gemini, this equinox is also a time for gathering information, formulating perspectives, and determining how to act on the knowledge we’re creating. Mars is applying to a trine with Saturn, encouraging principled, deliberate action and bringing long-term, focused discipline to what we choose to initiate. While Mercury may struggle to manage details in the emotional tides of Pisces, its conjunction with Pallas suggests strategic thinking, the wisdom to direct power well, and tenacity to protect those who are made most vulnerable. Pisces carries currents of compassion and inclusion, so at this equinox, as we celebrate the return of life, may our compassion inspire strategic wisdom for protecting the livability of all. With whatever we are beginning or initiating, may we collect the information and data that we need in order to synthesize actionable analyses with long-term vision. May we boldly speak up and dare to make connections that require us to adapt and change our perspectives. If you ritualize the equinox, I hope these words can inspire your rituals.
[First image reads “Astrology of the Wheel of the Year: Oestara, 20 March 2021” in golden letters on a dark green field of flowers and stars. Second image shows the chart for the moment of the Sun’s ingress into Aries, and reads “Oestara, 20 March 2021, 5:38am, Columbus, OH, USA”]
Imbolc—one of the eight sabbats in the Wheel of the Year—is the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, usually observed from sunset on 1 February until sunset on 2 February. Imbolc is often translated as “in the belly,” describing the forthcoming spring germinating beneath the cold ground of winter. At Imbolc this year, there is a full stellium in Aquarius—what Chris Brennan recently described as an “assembly” of planets—with Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, the Sun, and Mercury all in residence in the same sign. This puts considerable importance on the sign of Aquarius as well as Saturn—the ruler of Aquarius—who is then responsible for overseeing this assembly. Saturn sets boundaries, rules, and limitations, and in Aquarius, these concerns are often directed toward the future, toward worlds we are building, and that which exceeds the parameters of the old order. As the five planets convene to take part in creating new structures as the old institutions fall away, they are all in a whole-sign square to both Uranus and Mars in Taurus. The Sun is exactly square Mars, both at 13º. Building new worlds founded in ideological integrity amidst challenging upheavals assaults from those who feel disempowered is difficult work. The disseminating Moon in Libra suggests a time for sharing equity, equality, and justice. At this Imbolc, may we gather in our own assemblies, developing clear parameters and strategies for bringing new worlds to term. Whether in group or solitary rituals, may we pour our love and intentions into justice, community care and accountability, and everyone having access to all that they need in the worlds to which we will give birth.
[Image 1 reads Astrology of the Wheel of the Year Imbolc 1 February 2021 in gold letters on a background collage of stars and flowers. Image 2 shows the chart for Imbolc on 1 February 2021 at sunset, 5:48pm in Columbus, OH, USA]
Tomorrow is also Samhain, the witches’ new year. This is the midpoint between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. It is the final harvest, the end of a cycle of life and growth and gathering the fruits of our labor. Now we move deeper into the autumn months, the longer nights, and the colder weather. Every ending is also a beginning, and as the wheel of the year turns and this cycle is complete, we enter the dormant period that is also the start of a cycle of new life to come. Samhain is also a time for honoring our ancestors, for communing with the dead. It is said to be the time of the year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest. It is a time for celebration and also introspection. Today or tomorrow, you might create an altar to your ancestors—those who make your life possible whether related by blood or other forms of kinship—and offer gratitude for the lives they lived. For me, this includes my father, my grandparents, and my family line as well as the transcestors, the mighty and beloved queer dead who are not my kin by blood but by possibility. The lives they lived make my life possible. You might take time to be quiet and still, and listen to what your ancestors are saying. To say that the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest also suggests that this is a time for visioning toward worlds to come. What will justice in worlds to come require? What resources do ancestors past, present, and future offer to creating justice for all, for life on this planet other than ourselves? If we allow today to mark both endings and beginnings, what can you let go of or surrender that is no longer serving you, and how can you orient yourself toward being in service to that which you love in the year ahead?
Today is the Autumnal Equinox, Mabon to the witches, the midpoint between the summer and winter solstice when the hours of daylight and nighttime are in balance. It’s a time for celebrating the harvest, for cultivating gratitude for the work we have done and the fruits of our labor, as well as for letting go of that which we no longer need. As the Sun moves into Libra, in the northern hemisphere, the leaves are already beginning to turn colors and fall away. The crops are coming into their final fullness as longer days depart for longer nights. This is also a time for reconnecting to balance, for noticing what is out of balance in our lives, and for engaging in the dynamic process of making the changes necessary in order to feel stable in responding to the shifting forces of our lives.
Surrounding the Sun’s ingress into Libra marking the equinox, the Moon in Cancer will oppose Saturn in Capricorn. Now direct, Saturn has an agenda, steadily moving forward on long-term plans for the future. As Saturn demands these new directions, notice where you feel resistance or opposition in your body. The Moon then makes a square to Mercury in Libra and a sextile to Mars in Virgo. News, messages, or correspondences may challenge our sense safety or security—as if that’s not simply a daily reality in our current political climate—and we may in turn feel empowered to take action in order to support meaningful change.
As we embark on this new season and celebrate the turning of the wheel of the year, I hope that you can feel all the ways that you are of this place, constituted with and from this earth. It is not only that the world around us is changing; the worlds within us are changing as well—if we let them. Magic is what happens when we recognize this vital, necessary relationship between the worlds within and without, and allow ourselves to be moved by this changing earth to which we belong.