Tempests and Tides

Whether they know it or not, people all over the world are witnessing an event that perfectly illustrates our current high-pressure, confrontational astrology: the slowly growing beat of war drums as Saudi Arabia joins the U.S., Israel and the U.K. in blaming Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. The astrology in question: Mars in Cancer opposite the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn — with extra intensity added by a Full Moon in Sagittarius.

These events are occurring in a week that ends with the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere: the solstice, when the Sun enters Cancer to begin the new season.

That occurs on Friday, June 21, at 11:54 am EDT (15:54:07 UTC) — bringing the emblem of consciousness into contact with the early cardinal sign planets. That is Aries Point territory, coming with a reminder to notice how the personal intersects with the political/collective.

Even though the official word from the U.S. government is that it does not want a war with Iran, does the energy around this event feel like that to you? Without getting into all the reasons how certain people in power might benefit from armed conflict in a region known for its tinderbox qualities, this is an issue we all need to notice carefully.

It’s easy to forget the important role emotions play in our decision-making processes, whether individually or collectively. We like to imagine we only make decisions rationally. Yet even if the U.S. Secretary of State is not ‘thinking emotionally’ about the prospect of a war with Iran, you can be sure that appealing to the emotions of U.S. citizens is part of the technique that will be used to make any decision to retaliate with military force ‘acceptable’.

On a personal level, awareness of how much your emotions are driving your decision-making processes right now is just as crucial. Though the outcomes of your choices will not impact as many people as a U.S. war with Iran would, they still will have impact — including potential consequences that cannot be reversed easily, if at all. True, not every individual is dealing with high-stakes situations currently. If you are, however, you’ll want to take things with as much awareness and deliberateness as possible.


Map of the locations of the two oil tankers attacked last week in the Gulf of Oman: the Norwegian-owned Front Altair, and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous. According to NPR, four other ships were attacked in the region last month. Not named on the map: Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar along the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia.

Power struggles are a very real possibility. If you’re the one with the power, that’s a reminder to wield it judiciously and without the intent to dominate ruthlessly. If you feel like you’re the one without power, this is a reminder to enlist assistance from others — with complete openness about your position and agenda.

Bear in mind that you may have more power than you feel like you do; it could be a matter of needing to re-center yourself within it, so you can side-step reactive interactions. If you don’t feel like you’re in a power struggle either way, you’re likely in a good position to use this energy in more creative ways, particularly to make some positive changes in your life.

Mars is the planet of action and Mercury the planet of mind. They are making a conjunction (exact Tuesday) in Cancer — just as Mars opposes Pluto in Capricorn on June 19. It’s an illustration of the emotional, mental and physical facing off with a deeply compelling force of change.

The Saturn-Pluto conjunction is not itself exact until January, yet Mars seems to be lighting the fuse, with a little help from Mercury. We will likely see whatever is happening now develop in traceable ways between now and then. You can review Eric’s thoughts on this astrology from last week, as well as his recent essay linking current aspects with the ‘natal chart’ for the U.S., called the Sibley chart.

As mentioned, we also have a Full Moon in Sagittarius, opposite the Gemini Sun. It’s exact at 4:31 am EDT (8:30:33 UTC) this Monday morning. The Sun and Moon will be square a cluster of asteroids in Pisces that point to some form of needing to wake up and make new choices.


Full Moon over the Pacific; view the chart for tomorrow’s Full Moon here. Photo by Humboldthead.

Compared to the Mars astrology, I get the sense that this Full Moon — even though it’s an opposition involving the symbol of emotions — is the less high-pressure, and even less emotional, of the two configurations. For one thing, its placement in mutable signs suggests a little more wiggle room: a willingness to be flexible, and creative means for using the options available. In the Thursday night issue I outlined some of the themes at play here.

On Tuesday, the Gemini Sun opposes the Galactic Core and a centaur called Ixion. This aspect will be in effect during the Full Moon — describing both the potential of facing something profound, and of facing either someone’s amoral actions (possibly the effects of your own?) or a second chance to choose ethically.

It can be tempting to view ‘enlightenment’ as something spiritually ‘pure’ and separate from real-world nitty-gritty. I think perhaps, however, it really just boils down to being willing to recognize our role in the causes and effects of the circumstances of our lives, and what it means to learn from those experiences — including the questionable ones, the ones we’re not proud of.

Finally, do note that Mercury enters its pre-retrograde shadow or echo phase on the solstice Friday, at 11:54 am EDT / 15:54:07 UTC. I know a few people, myself included, who have felt like Mercury already entered its shadow/echo phase early last week. I suspect that might be described by its proximity to the Mars-Saturn-Pluto configuration, which has been reflected in some agitating circumstances for many.

You may wish to take the late part of this week as gently as possible. Know the difference between going with the flow, getting swept away by mental/emotional currents, and trying to push the river. Ebb and flow are simply two phases of the same cycle. We have a considerable amount of choice in whether to whip the tides of our lives into a tempest.

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