All dates and times are UT so may vary in your time zone
July is a month of deep inner movement which, like a quake far below the earth’s crust, may well shake foundations, but is less likely to bring the structures of our lives crashing down. With up to six retrogrades throughout the month, two eclipses (one also a Supermoon) and Mars still on the South Node, our internal world is in the spotlight while the external one may disappoint.
This is a time of profound and sometimes hard truths; of unrelenting forces of change which penetrate our psyches to reach the most intransigent parts of the shadow self. If we cling to falsehoods for security or resist the current evolutionary arc which emphasises the fertile complexities of darkness, we will struggle. But when we allow that darkness to deepen and enrich us, we can know peace like never before. Sometimes we must simply be endarkened, not enlightened, to know the truth.
This month emphasises the correlation between inner and outer. Shifts in perspective will bring about changes in circumstance, revealing just how deeply the observer impacts the event. There is no such thing as a ‘pure’ happening, only experience to which we assign meaning that makes sense of a complex world. But that ‘sense’ isn’t necessarily true.
A semi-sextile between Chiron in Aries and Uranus in Taurus throughout July provides ample opportunity to observe the impact of our attitude upon life’s unfolding. Chiron demands an assertive response to challenge. It doesn’t have time to wallow in self-pity or detach into premature transcendence. It simply wants us to get over ourselves and move on! Combined with Uranus’s unremitting assault on the most inflexible parts of the psyche (which often harbour our deepest fears), this is a potent alliance which fosters new ways to respond to old problems and awakens the possibility for change where it’s long overdue.
Throughout July we can look fear in the eye, stand firm and refuse to be diminished. It’s okay to feel it. Everyone does. It’s completely natural. But it helps to know it as well as feel it. Notice its truths and its lies. Feel its heightened senses or its feathery fingers around your throat. Know that fear is part of you, not an external invader.
We create fear with the stories we conjure about life, ourselves and other people, so pay attention to its triggers now. Where do you feel it in your body? Which thoughts and beliefs generate it and which help it subside? What’s the difference between healthy fear that protects your boundaries and diminishing fear that reduces your ability to make decisions and take an active part in life? Do you fear fear itself, acting obsessively to avoid encountering it at all?
Doubt Can Be A Subtle Force Of Change
Self-doubt may also be rife this month. We may feel lost or devoid of direction. But again, it’s okay to feel this way. It’s all part of the internal recalibration taking place. Doubt is often characterised as a hindrance, a limiting weakness. But right now it’s a subtle force of change, calling into question false certainties, and challenging assumptions. It introduces the new by dissolving investment in the old. Doubt creates space and the opportunity to look again at something so familiar we barely see it at all.
July begins with Mercury on the North Node until 5th, opposing Mars on the South Node. Interaction will get us a lot further than insistence! If you don’t like what’s happening around you, open lines of communication and begin a dialogue rather than stubbornly digging in your heels, insisting you know best. Be clear about what you want but stay cool when others seek different outcomes.
Mercury turns retrograde later this month, providing plenty of opportunity to review and rethink. Whilst there might be a sense of urgency as the month begins, there’s actually more time than we think to reach an agreement that serves everyone, not just the few.
On 3rd July Chiron in Aries and Saturn in Capricorn form a square which lasts until the end of September. This square initiates us into deep time, where change takes as long as it takes and occurs in an instant; where all is perfectly whole and forever fragmented. Saturn in Capricorn oversees the passage of clock and calendar time, delivering outcomes and consequences from one moment to the next. Chiron in Aries steps outside of time, delivering rectification in the blink of an eye and new beginnings before the old has become dust.
We arrive in this deep time of Chiron – which brings lightening-strike deliverance from long-term pain – by grace, not will; by faith, not intention. Saturn keeps our feet firmly planted in the ‘real’ world of responsibility, work and effort. It holds us to account, insisting we take charge of our lives. Chiron points to the mystery beyond Saturn’s pragmatism.
We enter this mystery when we soften around life’s challenges, release the need to be in control and surrender to a universe which disregards our personal plans in favour of its own. The world still has its call upon us and we remain beholden to this human realm, but our spirit is free to connect across time with deeper truths that initiate us into a more vital relationship with the essence of life itself.
As the energy of this square intensifies in the coming weeks we’re drawn into the complexities of time and its evolutionary impact beyond the everyday. We may, for example, go to bed one night profoundly different to the person we were when we awoke. The very fabric of our life may be torn asunder by inner shifts that occur in a single day. Or a long-standing situation of great challenge may, in the blink of an eye, reveal its own solution hidden in plain sight just waiting for eyes to see.
This square offers both challenge and hope: the challenge of stepping outside our ordered existence into no time and all time, and the hope of release from the twists and turns of our tiny mind which can make our days interminable and our nights hard to endure.
Chiron begins five months retrograde on 5th July, bringing the number of retrograde planets to six (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto being the other five). With so many retrogrades our energy is best invested in our inner life and not the outer world. Whilst we must still keep the plates of our lives spinning, we can be in the world but not of it for a while, allowing its hooks and seductions to fall away while we attend to the well-being of our soul.
Between 5th and 11th July Neptune lends its support through a trine to the Sun, encouraging a gentle and compassionate response to life, softening us as we bump against its hurdles, helping us yield and in doing so stay strong.
Between 6th and 12th July Jupiter squares Mercury. In Leo, Mercury identifies deeply with personal opinion and engages with the world in a highly subjective way. Jupiter in Scorpio demands deeper exploration of the inner drives underpinning personal perspective. During this square we cannot get away with ‘because I said so’ or ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say’. Rigorous honesty is required, as is unflinching attention to our deeper motivations.
With Mercury entering its retrograde ‘shadow’ on 7th July, consideration of what we say, why and how we say it becomes increasingly important, continuing to be so until the beginning of September.
Pluto opposes the Sun between 9th and 15th July, replacing the yielding energy of Neptune’s trine with something altogether more intense! Occurring as an eclipse season begins on 10th, we’re challenged to both own our power and relinquish it in equal measure. When action is needed, take it. When surrender is necessary, do it. The key lies in knowing the difference, for the times we need to surrender often feel like we should act, and sometimes when we need to act we’d rather surrender and let life (often in the guise of other people!) make decisions on our behalf.
Pluto opposing the Sun confronts us with the issue of power, how we use it, where and why. Do we struggle to maintain control over others to stop them changing us? Do we deny our power, preferring a victim stance that absolves us of all responsibility, leaving us forever disappointed but always ‘blame free’? Do we focus so intensely on controlling the physical realm that we forget everyday life is a metaphor for something altogether more mysterious? This opposition confronts us with our influence on the unfolding of life and the extent to which we create our reality versus reality shaping us.
Also on 10th July Venus enters Virgo and Jupiter turns direct in Scorpio. This Venus finds joy in small things easily overlooked: the nuances of a single moment, the subtle dynamics that change the shade of an experience. She finds beauty in the minutiae so often missed and helps us do the same, while Jupiter illuminates the interplay of conscious and unconscious forces in our lives.
Jupiter in Scorpio knows no fear. It simply seeks penetrating truth and passionate experience to foster deeper roots and more expansive aspirations. Each in their own unique way, both Venus in Virgo and Jupiter in Scorpio appreciate the necessity of light and dark, shadow and illumination, making them valuable allies during the eclipses to come.
13th July sees the first of them: a solar eclipse in the 21st degree of Cancer opposed by Pluto and occurring at a supermoon. This promises to be an intense eclipse with the power to shake deeply our internal foundations, especially those upon which we rely without a second thought. Emotional sensitivity will be greatly heightened as we encounter aspects of the self previously ignored or denied. Events may bring them to the surface, but they’re just as likely to emerge of their own accord, as consciousness expands to embrace the shadow self.
Solar eclipses often augur unexpected events and this one is no exception, but this time the events may be largely internal. Our sense of identity, purpose and meaning may shift dramatically and with little warning, if not around the actual eclipse, during the months to come. What was, not so long ago, worth fighting for may lose its seductive charm to reveal an empty core. We may discover our motivation is not our own but instead co-opted from those who’ve left their footprints in our psyche without our being aware. Previously enjoyed kinship may feel a lot less like home, threatened by the emotions and impulses arising within.
A concomitant Grand Trine in Earth formed by Uranus, Saturn and Venus between 11th and 14th July will anchor us amidst any eclipse storms. Facilitating pragmatic responsiveness, it provides the resilience needed to shift intransigent emotions and behaviours when it’s their time to go. If the unexpected strikes stand firm, stay strong and know there are forces all around that will help you endure even the most dangerous and intimidating storms right now.
A quarter Moon in Libra on 19th July marks the halfway point between the solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse on 27th. Forming a T Square with the Sun and Eris, it affirms that the strongest relationships are built on a foundation of emotional independence coupled with courageous intimacy. We do not surrender to the other but to the relationship itself, whatever form it takes, allowing it to shape and change us even as we bring our own unique spirit and vitality to its formation.
In the midst of an intense eclipse season, taking care of relationships is paramount, for in them we find and provide strength, even as it is equally vital that we stand apart when necessary and face life alone.
The Sun begins its month-long journey through its own sign of Leo on 22nd July, lifting us out of heavy emotion into a more buoyant state of mind. On the same day, together with Uranus and Mars, it begins to form a T square which remains until 28th.
T Squares always come with pent-up energy. All the more so when Uranus and Mars are involved! They augur both intense creativity and destructive frustration, so we have an important choice to make: Do we respond to life’s provocations with stubborn assertions of our right to call the shots, or do we allow the unassailable force of life itself to take charge, flooding us with creative potential we could never conjure simply by sheer force of human will?
Uranus in Taurus, at the apex of this T Square, is mobilised to shift the most obstinate aspects of human nature which block the current evolutionary flow. We cannot stop it. To try is simply a waste of time and effort. What we can do is surrender to it, allow ourselves to be immersed within its revolutionary power and become part of evolution, not its enemy!
The personal is now as vital as the collective and how we respond to the minutiae of daily life is just as influential as events lauded on the world stage. Everyone has a part to play and no one is inconsequential in this unrelenting march into a future still balanced on the brink.
Mercury is retrograde in Leo between 26th July and 19th August. Aspecting Eris and Black Moon Lilith as it changes direction, it augurs intense exchanges and exhilarating insights in equal measure. There may be battles a plenty as we strive to uncover previously inaccessible and potentially life-changing personal truths. If you’re seeking honesty and openness at this time, be prepared to receive them full blast whether you like what you get or not!
Truth may storm through our lives like a hurricane now, ripping all from its anchor. Once out of the box it won’t be neatly folded up and put away. But rest assured, we’re ready for this even though it may not feel like it! Whatever is revealed needs to be known. And if we’re hiding the truth – from ourselves or another – it may come crashing through our deceptions like a tsunami if we won’t let it bubble gently to the surface to be known.
A lunar eclipse in the 5th degree of Aquarius on 27th July (conjunct Mars in the T Square mentioned above) reveals the inner cause of outer conditions. Whilst we may rail against the unfairness of life, we experience nothing which is not characteristic of who we are. Which doesn’t mean we’re directly responsible for everything that happens to us. But it does illuminate the mysterious correlation between our inner world and outer experience which, as we live life more deeply, reveal undeniable reflections each within the other.
This eclipse fires our passion whilst reminding us that objectivity can be a refreshing break when life is intense. If emotional storms abound, take a step back and breathe deeply. Remember, we are not in the eye of the storm forever and finding the still spot when turmoil reigns is a very handy skill to have in times such as these!
Around the time of this eclipse and in the months to follow, revelation of our deeper motivations will continue. If we’re pursuing agendas introjected from others or presiding social mores, this will become abundantly and undeniably clear. Childhood patterns, familial expectations so deeply rooted they feel like our own, dictates of society, religion, spiritual teachings past and present, all may shape us aside from our authentic spirit.
This eclipse season, and especially this lunar eclipse, opens Pandora’s box of influences to reveal what’s really going on. It may not look pretty at first, but in the long run it will foster greater awareness and understanding, diminishing our capacity to be influenced by externals to serve agendas not our own.
Of course, it works both ways! Others may awaken to our influence and begin to resist what once felt like minds and hearts in accord. Offering space to each other to process and explore these internal upwellings will be a compassionate gift of great value now, although not one easily given.
It can be deeply unsettling when the ground of significant relationships begins to shift and swell. Patience, with ourselves and each other, as we all navigate a changing interior will go a long way to reducing potential conflict that could do more harm than good. We still have one more eclipse to go (a solar eclipse in Leo on 11th August) so this process of unveiling is not yet complete. And with Mercury retrograde until the middle of next month, there will be plenty of opportunity to get to the root of things and recalibrate perspectives accordingly.
On 31st July, asteroid Vesta completes a retrograde journey begun on 9th May. This feels significant and supportive. Vesta, keeper of the hearth fire and the sacred flame, imbues us with hope and devotion to those causes which matter. She completes her retrograde passage in Sagittarius, the sign of faith and optimism, reminding us that attitude and perspective are crucial to how we experience life.
If we decide there’s no hope, nothing will change (or too much is changing!), we can’t get what we want, we always mess up or everything is everyone else’s fault, we’ll reap difficult outcomes now. But if we embrace Vesta’s message – that even in the darkest hour, the tiniest flame of faith in life’s restorative power can light our way – we may be surprised at just how much changes in ways deemed impossible before.
It will be tempting to take life very personally at this point! And who wouldn’t? I mean…. life is a very personal experience! But it’s also an impersonal one, unfolding around and through us without consideration of individual needs, concerns and desires.
The more we can appreciate the achingly intimate and expansively impersonal maelstrom that is life, the better we can act with power when necessary and relinquish control when we must, led by the innate intelligence of a life whose mysterious ways are forever beyond our understanding and yet seeded deep within our soul.
Reprinted with permission of the author.
Sarah Varcas is an intuitive astrologer with a passion for applying planetary messages to the ups and downs of everyday life. In doing so she aims to support people in their personal and spiritual development, making available celestial wisdom which may otherwise be inaccessible for those without astrological expertise. Sarah has studied astrology for over thirty years alongside an eclectic spiritual path spanning Buddhism, contemplative Christianity and many other diverse teachings and practices. She also offers an online (via email) Self-Study Astrology Course. You can find out more about Sarah and her work at www.astro-awakenings.co.uk.