Here in the north, the shimmer of summer sparkles across newly mown meadows of powered gold. We’re drunk with light, overwhelmed with a surfeit of beauty. Now the sun pauses at the zenith of the year. Something extra-ordinary is happening; we feel it viscerally. Old traditions return, threads of comfort as the earth’s axis shifts and the scent of dog rose wafts on a hot honeyed breeze. Perhaps in our own lives, there is a sense of returning to a familiar place as we come full circle in the wheel of the year.
In the south, things are still growing, still beautiful, less showy. Midwinter is a time to pause, to take stock, to look again at what seems dead and needs discarding. We think of Hallowe’en as a witching time, a time when the natural order is overturned, when the veil between the worlds is thinnest. Yet the Solstice accompanies that rush of heightened awareness when our mysterious hearts un-choose… or choose anew.
Astrology doesn’t cause events but offers us a container for understanding them. As ancient Sarsen stones drink the heat of the Midsummer sunrise we may not go back as our ancestors did at Stonehenge, Maeshowe, or Newgrange, to wait for the death and rebirth of the sun. We can still draw from the eternal circle of knowing that describes the mythic journey of the hero/heroine and fall into a new more revitalised rhythm in our own lives. After the enthusiastic departure, the blistering fire of initiation, we may still feel raw, burnt and bleeding, yet we may sense the worst is over. Now comes the Return as our feet learn to support us again, as our hearts open once more to a love we can trust. The world is so different to the world we have left. There may still be tears to shed, a deep throb of pain yet to be tended to. We may still brace ourselves against the confinement of those tight corners we have grown used to. Now as the Sun dips into the cool waters of Cancer, a sign that clasps us to the familiar breast of comfort and security, our hearts open like peonies. We dare to begin again.
Mercury is still moving in reverse, unravelling our usual ways of communication, unknotting travel plans, heightening our intuition and the desperate need for more sleep. Mercury stations direct (June 23rd) yet we may still feel remnants of Mercury’s mayhem as emails go awry, communication is clouded by misunderstanding. The disturbing alchemy of the Saturn/Uranus square perfected on June 14th, shortly after the Annular New Moon Solar Eclipse on June 10th delivering a potent smack of disruption to our lives that may have upended our careful plans, brought clarity to a situation that we had clung to for far too long.
Neale Donald Walshe writes “sometimes it looks like one thing after the other, but really it is Blessing after Blessing…if you think you are struggling, struggle is what you will experience…if you decide you are looking at a gift, even if you can’t see it clearly in this exact moment, a gift is what you will get.”
On June 24th, a sumptuous full Moon in pragmatic Capricorn animates the light-saturated strangeness with a clarity that may allow us to be truly in touch with those feelings, denied or disowned. This Full Moon may illuminate a new perception as the days of June shimmer in shades of green.
Mercury emerges from the shadows of this Retrograde period on July 7th and makes an ambiguous square with shape-shifting Neptune (July 6-7th) while corpulent Jupiter in Pisces (faith, long journeys, excess) switches backwards from June 20th-September 14th) and joins Neptune Retrograde in Pisces. It also can signify the tsunami of grief and loss at the ending of a relationship or the realisation that we have been unrealistic or too naïve concerning our finances or what we hold dear to our heart. We may sense something ancient and primal stirring within us as something comes to a natural end, as we begin to emerge from pain into pleasure, an expanded sense of our next self. This is our invitation to take off those rose-coloured glasses as we move fluidly through this time of stops and starts when nothing is clear or certain. Byron Katie, who has Jupiter Retrograde in Cancer, suggests pragmatically, “When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, fluid, kind, and fearless.”
A New Moon in Cancer (July 10th) is a potent time to find a safe space and allow our exhausted minds to rest. As we open ourselves to nourishing and tender connections we allow hope to power through us, we feel drawn to create again.
Now at this time of pause, of empty space, may we allow peace and contentment to enter in as the sun sinks molten into the sea spilling a phosphorescent flash of chartreuse followed by a tiny dot of honey to mark the day’s end. As the earth’s axis shifts, we’re dazed and dazzled with by the beauty of the flowers that tumble over walls and spill over meadows.
This is the time when fairies leave the sweet-scented hedgerows to make mischief amongst mortals. When wild flowers and fragrant herbs crown our heads and love potions placed beneath pillows call future lovers to dance with us in our dreams. This is the time to celebrate and make merry. For as long as the light holds.
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Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame―William Butler Yeats.