Venus is closing in on an opposition to Saturn, and Mars is about to enter Leo.
Here is what to watch for:
Venus opposite Saturn:
* Conflicts in love
* Conflicts in friendship
* Separation or isolation
* Deepening commitments, devotion to something greater
* Conflicting ideologies
* Dogma vs open-mindedness in relationships
* Conflicts of faith and belief in partnerships
* Training the mind to keep its commitments
* Diversity vs consistency
* Loneliness on a spiritual path
* Hard differences on the best approach to something
* Negotiations breaking down
* Beautiful things vs materialism
* Being unfaithful, cheating, or gossip
* The opportunity for maturing or growing wiser in love and friendships or any kind of relationship
* Eliminating or simplifying something
* Simplification and subtle forms of beauty
* Reduction makes something more beautiful
* Narrowing our choices, tastes, interests
* Returning or giving back something we've purchased or been given
* Waiting for what we want or desire, being held back from what we long for
We will add more to this list in the next few days as the aspect perfects...for now please feel free to post your stories. How are you seeing Venus opposite Saturn appearing in your life right now?
Mars is also about to enter Leo today, where the dignity of Mars will shift out of his fall and into the rulership of the Sun. Mars was traditionally said to do better than most planets with combustion due to his own fiery nature, but the Mars/Sun combustion is still very challenging. Notice that for weeks we've spoken of the dying or failing or exhaustion of the masculine/Mars principle...a headline that mirrors this dynamic is the recent news of Senator McCain, a war hero, grappling with brain cancer. Another headline involves the drowning/suicide of a former NFL football player...James Hardy is one of several NFL players who have died under the combustion of this Mars in Cancer.
We don't point these out to win any accuracy points but rather to train our minds to notice the signs of the times so that we might recognize the planets in our own lives, and so that by recognizing them we might avoid the trap of being seized by them unconsciously. The more consciously we engage with these transits, the more the daily planetary weather provides us with opportunities for the continued development of our devotion to the divine...something that is always cultivated in loving presence and thoughtful attention.
Prayer: Teach us to hear the music of the sky, each and every day, so that we might learn to love you more, each and every day.
As Mars moves into a square with Uranus, it's easy to lose our cool.
An I Ching Meditation today...
* The 33rd hexagram of the I Ching is called "retreat," and it discusses the wisdom of knowing how and when to retreat.
* For many people retreat is about giving up, and giving up is about failure, and failure is undesirable, and so retreat isn't an option.
* But the 33rd hexagram speaks to the wisdom of retreat. When we are overwhelmed by inferior forces, internally or externally, when we are fighting a losing battle, or when we need to retreat in order to gather ourselves before moving forward again, then retreating becomes the wisest possible path. People who only know how to move forward end up dragging others and themselves along through places and times of exhaustion.
* Advancement cannot last forever. In this day and age, the word "evolution," has become the most celebrated idol on the altar of the religion of progress. Hexagram 33 is also about the delusion of historical thinking in general. If we stay caught up in the idea that we are so much more now than we were in the past, then we perpetuate the impression that our future can and should be better as well. To the extent that we stay fixed on history, progress, and evolution, we may fail to see the reality of life in the material realm, where retreat is just as inevitable as advance. For every story of advancement that we keep telling ourselves, we make it that much harder to naturally accept, learn from or immerse ourselves in times of retreat.
* Hexagram 33 asks us to consider the idea that the soul cannot become any better or worse. A retreat is often the exact action we should take in order to step back into the soul's eternal nature. Retreating, we say to ourselves, "I am not this victory, and so I am not this defeat. I give up so I can find my way home again."
* Retreat is sometimes also the call to engage with God again. Rather than trying to do everything on our own, rather than getting so entirely wrapped up in these worldly pursuits, sometimes (not all the time) it's okay to say, "I can't do this. What's the point? I'm going to retreat and enter back into the only thing that matters, which is my love for God, and my love for others."
* The 3rd line of hexagram 33 refers to a halted retreat due to people who will not leave you alone, or who will not respect your retreat. When we are attempting to retreat and people hold us up, it can kill the initiative of retreat, which needs a certain kind of haste and intentionality so that we do not stay wrapped up in whatever losing-battle we're fighting. The advice of the line is to take up whoever is holding you back as servants of your retreat. The line also suggests that in the long run it likely won't work to keep them as servants.
* When we're trying to retreat and people hold us back, if we take a moment to shift our perspective, then we might see them as potentially offering something useful. However, the fact that they are standing in our way now could very well mean they will be in our way again later, and so whatever way in which we incorporate others into our retreat for the moment may not last in the long run. Being aware of this now is wise because it will help us determine the extent to which we should be getting enmeshsed with or involved with those holding us back.
* The second hexagram that arises after the 3rd line changes is hexagram 12, called "stagnation," and this shows superior powers/qualities distancing themselves from inferior ones, which creates a stagnant situation that will eventually fester and break apart.
* Hexagram 12 within this sequence is telling us that separation is sometimes inevitable. However, it can be done through retreat rather than through head-on conflict. It can be done through defeat, or failure, a healthy giving up, or distancing, rather than by force and through muscle or the desire for victory.
During Mars/Uranus squares we often talk about "breakthroughs," or "forcing change," but this is a dying Mars who is badly debilitated, which is why the hexagram sequence this morning speaks to the intelligence of retreat, failure, and defeat. We sometimes associate our will and authority ONLY with what we can do, and not with what we cannot do, what we can refrain from, or how we might hold ourselves back. There is a spiritual victory in learning to stop thinking in terms of victory and defeat, even when we just "know" we're in the right about something, or we just "know" our cause is a good cause...
Prayer: Remind us that when we admit defeat in this world of impermanence, we often quickly find ourselves back in the temple of your peace and love.
Today Mars continues applying closer to its square with Uranus while the Sun draws closer to Mars. Meanwhile, Venus is moving into a square with Neptune and a trine with Jupiter.
Today an I Ching Meditation on the planetary transits:
* The 8th hexagram is called "Bonding," or "Holding Together," and it depicts the organization and/or administration of the military or a group of people into a cohesive and functional whole, usually with a particular goal or ambition in mind.
* The 8th hexagram sometimes encourages us to cast the I Ching again and to inquire as to whether or not we possess the strength of character to deal with, lead, or assemble this effort.
* The reason the I Ching suggests casting again is to simply emphasize how no larger, coordinated effort is possible without a virtuous person and a virtuous goal or ambition.
* No virtuous effort is performed without virtuous organization, administration, and execution. Virtuous goals require virtuous people and virtuous actions. The ends do not justify unvirtuous means. Hexagram 8 is clear about this.
* We can see this right now as we notice the Sun and Mars coming together in a square with Uranus, indicating an effort to overthrow, revolutionize, or significantly alter something. This revolutionary, innovative impulse is taking place in the midst of a Venus/Neptune square and a Venus/Jupiter trine, reminding us that we will need others, and we will need love to accomplish anything worth accomplishing right now.
* When the 4th line of Hexagram 8 changes, we get a specific message: "Hold to him outwardly also. Perseverance brings good fortune."
* In this line we see an instruction to seek help outside of ourselves or from someone we might not normally consider to be an ally or form of support.
* The 4th line suggests that we also outwardly display our affection, love, ideals, or virtues, in order to rally the sympathy and support of allies and possibly new people.
* The 4th line also speaks to the importance of practicing what we preach, of walking our talk, and of being an example of whatever effort, cause, or change we are hoping to create. To some of us this might be obvious, but let's not forget how easy it is to take up a cause or to make a demand for change in others or in the world, infused with great moral righteousness, without simultaneously examining ourselves with the same vigor.
* When hexagram 8 changes via line four it becomes hexagram 45: gathering together.
* Here we have the picture of a group of diverse people gathering together for the sake of a common, moral goal. And yet the hexagram discusses preparing for possible chaos, factions, and infighting.
* Hexagram 45 is a picture of setting aside differences for the sake of a larger, moral goal, one that at least for the moment may unite people. However, careful and upright leadership is required in order to orchestrate the group together rather than seeing it devolve into chaos.
With Venus and Neptune coming into a square while Venus trines Jupiter, the need for diplomatic relationships and an ideal sense of what is possible between ourselves and others, is necessary. We may have to set aside our normal sense of who we will and will not relate with, who we are and are not above or below, in order to come together in the name of something higher. This need to come together for a cause is indicated by these Venus trines taking place at the exact same time that Mars is falling into the furnace of the Sun (something failing or ending), just as Mars and the Sun are squaring Uranus (the desire or call for immediate, rapid, transformation and revolution).
Are we living examples of the changes we wish for right now? Are we willing to compromise and work with people we wouldn't normally agree with? Do we examine ourselves with the same fierceness we examine others, the same fierceness we demand change from or diagnose the problems of the world?
Prayer: Teach us to be love's revolutionaries and not demanding purists with empty or angry hearts. Teach us to love you first, and may our most passionate work in the world reflect the spirit of your eternal peace.
Mars is approaching a square to Uranus, along with the Sun, and meanwhile, Jupiter is slowly approaching a square to Pluto, and Venus is approaching a trine to Jupiter.
Here's what to watch for:
* The Sun conjoining Mars has been a long, slow burn. As Mars is consumed by the Sun there is an opportunity for frustration, agitation, anger, and inflammation to get the better of us. A dying Mars is like a wounded predator. It is quicker to lash out, quicker to defend, quicker to attack, and quicker to respond or react from the place of its injury.
* A dying Mars represents the failure of the will to adequately defend its position any longer. Forces larger than what the will can manage are simply consuming its defenses. This can be a good thing, too.
* Mars in its fall, swallowed by the Sun may also represent the tendency of people in power or positions of authority or responsibility to abuse their post, or it can represent a new system of leadership replacing an old one. It may represent old forms of power slowly dying, and in general, it may also represent issues surrounding Men, fathers, leaders, and the slow erosion of health, stability, or the importance or centrality of their roles in general within a relationship, workplace, etc.
* If we are in fight, passion, or go mode right now, we should be careful since some of our actions may have stronger effects than we anticipate. Mars is approaching a square to Uranus, so this dying Mars may easily try to lash out or its actions may lead to unanticipated and sudden changes.
* Jupiter is also approaching a square to Pluto right now. By early August we will see a reprise of themes related to power, justice, checks and balances, due process, the manipulation of the law for covert or hidden/secretive agendas, karma and the balancing of the scales of truth and judgment, etc. This transit will act as a prelude for a lunar and solar eclipse in August, along with a long-standing Mercury/Neptune opposition, and subsequent Mercury retrograde. It is very likely that the ongoing Russia scandal in the US, as well as global politics in general, will amp up significantly during this time, and central to all of it will be the Jupiter/Pluto themes of purgation, discharge, eruption, and justice, truth, and fairness.
* Last but not least, over the next week or so Venus is applying to make a trine with Jupiter. This transit reflects a nice reprieve within the otherwise very intense astrological dynamics of the season. The Venus/Jupiter trine brings friendship, harmonizing opportunities, windfalls, beneficial relationships, deals, negotiations, or allies, help from people who are in a good position to help, a sense of faith and trust, etc. We'll keep our eye on this transit as it perfects, but this transit is like a cool breeze amidst the intensity of the ongoing t-square dynamics between Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto.
Prayer: Teach us the passion of peace and the peace within our passion, so that we might accomplish with ease what our will feels so frustrated by.
Mars is approaching a square to Uranus as the Sun approaches its conjunction to Mars.
More on this dynamic transit...
* The 59th hexagram of the I Ching, sometimes called "dispersion," depicts the breaking apart or dispersing of divisive attitudes, motivations, and intentions within a group of people.
* In hexagram 59 the "King," which we might think of as the higher and spiritual faculty of the mind, recognizes the danger of a hectic situation where selfish and divergent ambitions are driving people apart or against each other, and at just this time he undertakes a long voyage to his ancestral temple.
* Some commentaries also mention a great sacrifice offered up by the King. The sacrifice performed in sincerity has the effect of dispersing the troubles of the people and reuniting them.
* Mars being consumed by the fiery Sun, in its depression, in the sign of the changeable Moon, square to Uranus depicts the potential for whatever is most central or stable in our lives to fall apart. Our will power may not work the way we'd like it to, we may experience frustration with our old ways of doing something, or we may feel disempowered right now. It's at just these times where there arises the temptation to force something, to make demands, to execute before thinking, or to act out emotionally without first reflecting on the best use of our time or energy.
* The Sun and Mars square to Uranus also depict the potential for selfish and divisive attitudes, corrupt officials or leaders, or impatient and iconoclastic behavior to hijack our progress.
* The 59th hexagram teaches us to recognize the appearance of the seeds of these troubles and then to burn them quickly in the fires of a great offering, journey or sacrifice. Too often in astrology we either read a transit in terms of its desirable or undesirable symbolism. People quickly respond to the challenging symbolism by saying, "I have that in my natal chart, and I'm great at it!" or they will respond by saying, "I have that in my natal chart, and so I know how bad it hurts." We miss the point in either response that we are not astrological transits, and in fact our task is to learn to recognize the force of these celestial signs and to avoid the tendency we all have to become consumed by them, acting out the planetary dynamics blindly...driven by our desires and attachments or aversions and dislikes...round and round. The instruction of the 59th hexagram says to recognize the seeds of a divisive, forceful, rebellious, and destabilizing period of time, and at just such a time make a great effort and offer a great sacrifice.
* When we humble ourselves and offer something...flowers, incense, prayers, our time, our mindfulness, our kindness, a thoughtful action, quality time, a kind word, and when it requires courage and inner effort....we are effectively leading all the divisive, willful, impatient energies back under the guidance and centralizing power of God within us. During times of great division our abdication of willfulness has to be strong, consistent, and intentional...we have to cross a great stream, find the temple, and make the great sacrifice.
* No great sacrifice, no matter how great or how much effort, is shown to the world for the purpose of gratifying ourselves. So the 59th hexagram says the King crosses the great water and returns to the temple of his ancestors. In astrology this temple might be seen as the heart of the Sun...the invisible place that Mars currently resides as it prepares for death and rebirth.
Prayer: Help us to recognize the first seeds of division, and help us to take up our paddles and row ourselves straight to the invisible temple, where we might offer everything up to you, reciting your sacred names until they linger in our hearts again: love, peace, patience, and kindness.
The Moon is in Scorpio today, applying to a square of Venus and Jupiter by this evening. The reception between the Moon and Venus today is challenging. While Venus is strong in conjunction with Jupiter, the Moon in Scorpio is in its fall and also in the sign of Venus' detriment. It's a planetary exchange we might think about with a few different phrases:
* a killjoy
* don't let something rain on your parade
* saving face
For example, as the social media feeds have blown up with the celebration of the Supreme court's decision yesterday its also created a backlash of radical or reactionary responses that might feel like a wet towel to those of us who are simply excited for a big step in the right direction: as though celebration is not allowed because suffering itself has not been wiped from the planet, or all institutions or forms of government abolished, or we've all been unified into a final singularity of enemy blasting universal love, etc, etc. There is a gravity to these kinds of "I just can't be happy with you guys" complaints that shouldn't be simply dismissed, but there is also a damp and embittered feeling to some of the naysaying that matches the qualities of the planets today. In many ways celebration of any kind will always invite the killjoy or the rain cloud because it's a natural archetypal exchange. Confidence attracts challengers and that's not such a bad thing. It keeps confidence from becoming arrogance or delusion. But at the same time, it's important to not pay too much attention to people who are so radical in their thinking that nothing is ever good enough. Good energy can be drained by career contrarians, and knowing the difference between a healthy exchange and a draining one is important today given the Moon and Venus' difficult exchange.
The above dynamics are also reflecting the upcoming square from Jupiter to Saturn retrograde. Saturn will not let our pride or excitement get too grandiose or inflated (hence the value of the naysayer right now), and yet Saturn retrograde is currently in a traditionally weaker position than Jupiter, who is likely to effectively call out Saturn during this square for any unnecessary nastiness.
To close, let's preview one more piece of our summer's upcoming astrology. Let's look at the continued transit of Mars through Cancer, as well as its combustion of the Sun during this and next moon cycle.
Understanding essential dignities in my work with clients and in creating daily forecasts has become an undeniably important part of my work over the past year. When we say a planet is in its fall or that its combust the sun, even though it may sound somewhat negative, it's really not anymore negative than saying conditions outside today are going to be rainy and the roads slick, so drivers be cautious. The ancient astrologers created the intricate system of dignities and receptions, as well as aspects and orbs, a lot like we've created meteorology to help us understand the changing conditions of our natural environments. Furthermore, just like rainy days can be great for some things and not as great for others, difficult planetary conditions can indicate the same levels of diversity present in our daily lives. The planetary conditions also say very little about how exactly we might respond to or work through or make meaning out of what's happening, though there are always plenty of hints and guidance present in the sky if we study the planetary alignments and actively seek the guidance of the divine in everything.
For mars to be combust the sun simply means that mars' ability to do what it does is somewhat prohibited because its own light is currently being dominated by the sun's light. Since mars is considered a hot and fiery planet, being combust the sun is thought to weaken mars' power because it makes mars excessively hot and fiery, which consequently makes mars less effective. Throw in that mars is currently in a wet/cold water sign (Cancer), and you get a mars that looks very much out of his element while simultaneously being consumed by the sun.
So what does this mean, practically? It means that mars-like things might be somewhat difficult right now. Chief among those, in my experience, is assertive, aggressive, forward movement toward our goals or desired outcomes. For quite some time now, as Mars has been combust, it's been like watching a car slowing running out of gas, or moving from an open freeway into a more congested area of traffic. The start/stop, the back and forth, the frustration or irritation with results not coming as soon as we'd like or in the way that we'd like, as well as the tendency for us to act on impulse without having all the information, or to act passive aggressively, or to deal with others being passive aggressive, or to pout or complain or feel sorry for ourselves...all of these qualities are potentially in the air right now for us to contend with.
But what I've also noticed is a cooling of the impulses. A mindfulness. A slowing. A patience. A softening. A spirit of compromise. These qualities are also there to be grown within us right now, in response to what mars is having a hard time accomplishing.
As we push toward the full moon this month mars will be squaring the nodes of the moon and acting as the ruler of the south node. With this transit it's possible that something quite challenging from our past will come back to confront us, or bless us, or seek resolution. How we carefully handle and negotiate any upcoming challenges, knowing that mars is in a difficult spot, will make all the difference. Again, mindfulness, slowness, patience, and the willingness to compromise, to wait and see, and to not force or rush anything is important this summer.
Mars will finally its combustion of the Sun around July 11th, then it will move out from under the Sun's rays and leave Cancer by August 9th, so we have a good chunk of our summer to learn and grow alongside of this transit. Tomorrow we'll look at what to expect from mars in leo as well as the mars/venus conjunction happening through venus' retrograde in leo.
Prayer: Moving quietly, not rushing anything, I understand that so many things are beyond my control.
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Adam Elenbaas is a professional astrologer and the founder of the Nightlight Astrology School. Adam holds an MA and MFA in English and Creative Writing and is one of the founding writers at RealitySandwich. To learn more about Adam, click here.