Spring had many of us hunkering down a bit slower in our personal lives, while world events continue to shake everything up. There will be no let-up to the intensities any time soon.
Eclipse season began on June 5 with a Full Moon eclipse in Sagittarius. Eclipses occur usually in pairs, about two weeks apart, about twice a year, when a New Moon or Full Moon is in close range of the lunar nodes, the points at which the Moon’s orbit intersects with the ecliptic, the Earth’s path around the Sun. This June and July, we’ve got three: the lunar eclipse of June 5, another lunar eclipse on July 4-5, and an unusually potent solar (New Moon) eclipse on June 20-21. (On the West coast, it will be at 11:41 p.m. on June 20.)
Every solar eclipse is a super-charged New Moon. One may feel electrified, exhausted, or both during the days and hours before and after an eclipse. In ancient times, people feared eclipses because they upset the natural order in the sky and can coincide with weather and human calamities. A New Moon in Cancer, the Moon’s home sign, can bring up strong feelings, especially about one’s home and family.
The June 20/21 eclipse will occur the same day (or the next day, depending on your location) as the June Solstice, the time when the Sun is at its highest point in the sky for the northern hemisphere.
That sets this unusually potent eclipse at the 0 degree of the sign of Cancer. Zero and 29 are the “critical” degrees of any sign, the first and the last. Each entry of a luminary into a new sign signals new territory. Think of the novice with a fresh, blank slate. And, when a lunation occurs at the 0 degree of one of the four cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn), that’s major because the 0 degree of a cardinal sign is part of what astrologers call the World Axis. Think: world-shaking events. And, how much more can we take?
Traditionally, 0 degrees of Aries, coinciding with the spring equinox, is the start of a new year in many cultures, and that makes sense because Aries is a forerunner, an initiator of action. Modern astrologers often associate Aries, from the name Ares, god of war, with the first house, the beginning of life itself.
But there’s also a curious teaching tool from the tradition of Hellenistic astrology (dating back to about 200 BCE) called the Thema Mundi. It’s a kind of mythical horoscope wheel used to teach the relationships between the seven visible planets and the twelve signs. The Thema Mundi places 15 degrees of Cancer as the first sign, in the first house, suggesting that life comes not from Arian struggle, but from Cancerian nurturance. The sign of Cancer, ruled by the Moon, represents the Great Mother.
On June 20, the Sun and Moon will ingress into the sign of Cancer. We may find ourselves feeling a bit more than the usual moodiness, nostalgia, protectiveness, all traits associated with Cancer. There may be concerns about security, even: do I have enough food in the house?
I know the Cancerian archetype well, as it’s the sign of the Sun and Mercury in my own chart. Whatever our Sun sign is, the many qualities it bears are not a set of givens. They are potentials and invitations. I don’t think “I’m a Cancerian” so much as: “I am on a lifetime journey with Cancerian themes.” In recent years, I’ve come to think of the Cancerian quest as being one of healing. It’s about self-love and self-nurturance, the mothering principle that lives within all beings, and extends inwardly and outwardly. These are not luxuries or indulgences. I grew up emotionally unmothered, and I spend my life healing from that.
The United States is a Cancerian country, born on the 4th of July. There are interesting historical debates about a correct natal chart for the United States. There is speculation as to the precise time when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Some astrologers don’t use July 4, 1776; they use a later dated chart for when the U.S. Constitution was signed. Daniel Fiverson, a friend and the first astrology teacher I studied with, uses a July 6, 1775 chart timed for when the colonists declared war on England. The 1775 chart’s aspects correlate well with the character and trajectory of the USA.
Whichever USA natal chart one uses, this country, as a collective entity, is approaching a major transit called a Pluto return. No human being experiences this transit in their own chart, because Pluto takes about 248 years to move around the Sun and return to the degree it was at upon a birth. Using either a 1775 or 1776 national birth chart, the United States has Pluto at either 25 or 27 degrees of Capricorn, and transiting Pluto today is at 24 degrees of Capricorn. Pluto will reach 25 degrees of Capricorn in 2021 and 27 degrees of Capricorn by 2022. And it won’t be over then. This is a long, tumultuous transit spanning years. Facts about our nation are on full display.
Pluto represents power, control, the exposure of truths. A Pluto transit can bring the upwelling of all the hellishness that someone, or a whole society, has been trying to suppress or disguise. Revelation and even a wrathful fury are necessary for Pluto’s mission, which is not just death, but rebirth.
The United States’ coming Pluto return asks us what it is we’re ready to lay to rest and what it is we want to help be born.
We watched with horror the video of the police killing of George Floyd. He called out to his mama. His pain echoed as a call on behalf of all beings who suffer the particularly odious injustice of racism.
Who heard that call? All beings with a heart. The Mother who lives in us all heard the call, and she is responding in myriad forms, in all directions. She is responding in the largest protest movement in U.S. history, and she is just getting started. That’s Cancerian love. We need that medicine.
Blessings for the Solstice New Moon!