By Amanda Painter
Today is the first quarter Moon, which marks the halfway point between last week’s partial eclipse in Cancer (the New Moon), and the second in our current series of three eclipses (which will happen during the Aquarius Full Moon). Sometimes these weeks between eclipses feel a little bit like an alternate reality, though this can be subtle depending on your circumstances.
Between now and next week’s eclipse (a total lunar eclipse), the Sun will leave Cancer and enter Leo. That occurs at 5:00 pm EDT (21:00 UTC) on Sunday, July 22.
Leo is the heart of this season (summer in the Northern Hemisphere, winter in the Southern Hemisphere). Ruled by the Sun itself, Leo is associated with themes such as courage, pride, leadership, public display and sociability. Yet, you’ve probably noticed there are two general types of Leos: the ones who seem to lead quietly — definitely in charge, but not flashy about it; and the ones who are garrulous, dramatic and always center stage.
I mention this because when the Sun enters Leo on Sunday, it will be within chatting distance with two of the most energetic planets in our solar system: Uranus in Taurus, making a square aspect; and Mars in Aquarius, making an opposition. Those are also the two most tension-producing aspects in astrology — which means they’re generating energy you’ll need to find constructive uses for.
When you have projects you need to forge ahead with, that kind of energy is very useful. Yet given the players involved — the Sun (personality, ego, life-force), Uranus (jolts, revolutions, surprises), and Mars (desire, motivation, aggression) — it could be easy for all that energy to get unwieldy. Having these planets in fixed signs increases the possibility of perseverance morphing into stubbornness, or of unconscious motivations getting a little ‘stuck’ in unhelpful expressions.
Since the Sun won’t make its exact aspects to Uranus and Mars until next week, you have some time to feel out the territory. Notice how the energy is showing up in your life, and make conscious choices about how you express it. For example, the more you can break with your usual routines intentionally, the less disruptive Sun square Uranus is likely to be. As soon as you have the urge to do something differently, see how you can do so while still keeping anyone who is depending on you for certain things in the loop.
Remember that it’s possible to express yourself and still be respectful of others’ opinions. Often, that comes down to asking questions and listening carefully first, before offering your own take on things. (If you’re formulating your answer while the other person is speaking, you’re not actually listening.)
The Sun moving into an opposition with Mars is a reminder to watch your ego-energies and motivations carefully; this probably goes double while Mars is retrograde, since Mars prefers to move forward and outward, rather than backward and inward. If you get frustrated or angry, what does that tell you about your attitudes and what you’ve identified closely with?
Observe any confrontations with family members (or anyone whose behavior is reminding you of a family member, or anyone to whom you’re reacting as though they’re a parent, sibling, etc.). What is really at stake? What would a workable compromise look like? If you can deal with your frustrations rather than simply suppress them (or blast them at innocent bystanders), you may understand yourself better and actually come to an agreement with the other person as well.
In other words, when big energies are at play, it falls to you even more to stay aware of what’s beneath the surface. Redirecting energy, transmuting emotions, changing your mind: these are all things that happen within you. Taking external action can be part of the process, but the real growth and understanding occur inwardly; then you can make like the Sun and express it outwardly in productive ways.
Keep in mind that we’re heading toward an eclipse of the Moon conjunct the Moon’s own South Node in Aquarius on July 27. The South Node can represent what is comfortable — and growth is often very uncomfortable. The South Node is also associated with karma that needs to be released. So as you approach next week, consider what can be jettisoned from your life to free up time, space and energy for who you’re becoming — even if it feels like you’re stepping into a suit that’s a little too big. You’ll grow into it if you allow yourself the opportunity.
Finally, note that Mercury will station retrograde on Thursday, July 26 (at 1:02 am EDT / 5:02 UTC), the day before the Aquarius Full Moon and eclipse. That is one week from today. Possibly you’ve already begun noticing hiccups, but even if you haven’t, you’ll want to tend to any details that could trip you up in the coming weeks (such as plans, travel, purchases) and which can’t wait until late August.
A little devotion now could go a long way. That goes for your Mercury-retrograde-related stuff, your eclipse-phase process, and whatever might emerge with the Sun’s ingress of Leo this weekend. Devotion is not flashy; it’s more like those quiet-type Leos, who lead from within.