By Amanda Painter
Tuesday evening the second of this season’s two eclipses came and went with the Capricorn Full Moon. On an immediate, practical level, I noticed this event arrived in a way that highlighted or seemed to exacerbate situations with a distinctly Mercury retrograde flavor. I’ve heard from a number of people in the last several days who’ve been wondering why they’ve felt a little ‘off’, down, thwarted or disempowered, and so on.
Does any of that describe your experience at all?
Collectively, we’ve been through a lot this year; Mars moving through Cancer and igniting a couple different aspect patterns — and the global events illustrating that astrology — was followed immediately by Mercury stationing retrograde. Add in these eclipses, and it has been a lot to handle.
Yet any astrology, no matter what in your life it describes or coincides with, is a reminder to notice consciously and integrate what you’re learning — particularly about yourself, but also about the people around you, your relationships with them, and your overall environment. So, regarding the last two weeks and the two eclipses bookending that span of time: what did you learn?
Another way to approach the question is to chart out the current trajectory of your life: where were you coming from, and where do you seem to be heading now? Did anything happen in the last few weeks to alter your direction of travel? Whether that’s the case or not, do you like how you’re oriented currently? Now would appear to be a good time to adjust your course as needed.
The reason for this relates to a couple of things. One is the way that the effects of life events and decisions occurring near eclipses tend to ripple out for a few months. Course adjustments made now may seem to ride some kind of current. More specifically, this week’s eclipse occurred in close proximity to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, which is exact in about six months — suggesting that actions, events and themes prominent now are likely to come to some greater crux, development or prominence in that time.
In addition, we have another two weeks of Mercury retrograde still unfolding before us. That is likely to bring additional revelations, particularly right around the station direct on July 31. Any time Mercury stations direct, this is a distinct possibility; but this time, Mercury stations less than one degree from the Capricorn Full Moon eclipse degree. This links the two events closely; you may wish to keep your antennae raised high and twitching at that time, and keep what you’re experiencing and learning this week in view.
Fittingly, this week’s other prominent aspects also feature Mercury retrograde as well as the Saturn-Pluto conjunction. Taking Mercury first: on Friday, the planet of the mind returns to the sign Cancer through the back door. The phrase ‘emotional intelligence’ gets used a lot these days, but this looks like a reminder to use yours. Has it been working well for you? If it has steered you wrong at all lately or in the past, do you know what contributed to that?
Emotional intelligence is commonly defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically; or as the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Yet how do you know that what you’re calling emotional intelligence is not really just you projecting your feelings onto someone else? You might start by noticing how often your expectations of another person’s reactions and reality are proven wrong or right.
On Sunday, Mercury meets the Cancer Sun in a conjunction (exact at 8:34 am EDT / 12:33:51 UTC). This marks the astrological midpoint of the current retrograde phase. Traditionally, if you absolutely cannot wait a couple weeks to finalize a deal or purchase or sign documents, this is supposed to be a decent time to do it. You’ll still want to go over everything with a magnifying glass three times, though, and expect that you might have to make adjustments later on.
There’s a suggestion with Sun-Mercury in Cancer that it might be all too easy to get so wrapped up in your own sensitivities that you don’t notice those of others. Making a conscious effort to understand those around you — such as by asking direct questions, rather than just cruising on intuition — could be helpful. Sun-Mercury conjunctions can also be very conversational. But what are you actually saying? Given Mercury’s condition, do you really mean what you say, and are you sure the other person really understands you?
Interpersonal relations could also feel challenging in other ways, as Venus in Cancer is currently opposing the Saturn-Pluto conjunction. While this might not indicate power struggles that can be volatile like when Mars was in this position, the theme of power is still present. It may be more emotional and less physical in nature, but emotions are strong drivers of the choices we make.
Venus opposite Saturn was exact yesterday, with the asteroid Pallas in Libra making it a T-square. Yet a sense of conflict between personal enjoyment and duty to others (particularly to an authority figure) may persist a few days. You might also be noticing it as a feeling of detachment from a situation that you would normally care about quite a lot. Either way, what are you being shown about yourself in the process?
Venus moving into its opposition to Pluto (exact Sunday) describes some kind of intensifying relationship experience that’s likely somewhere on the love-lust spectrum — or a compulsion to seek such. With a trine between Venus and Neptune in Pisces operating in the background, you might find fantasy to be where you play out these themes in fully saturated emotional color.
Yet Venus and Pluto are also square the asteroid Eros in Libra, amplifying the need to express sexual urges. If you are in a position to act out erotic energy, Pluto’s underworld associations offer a strong reminder to keep your actions above-board.
In other words, watch out for things like using jealousy, guilt or other manipulative tactics, especially if pain, fear or disappointment factor in (remember: Eris is also square Venus and Pluto from Aries). And if you’re treading the cliff-edge of sexual indiscretion, it’s essential to be honest with yourself that that’s what you’re doing. Ethical missteps now are likely to have real repercussions down the line. If there are hidden tensions in a relationship, this is the kind of astrology that could describe being caught off-guard by them.
On the plus side, the more consciously you approach your relationships and how you’re handling your needs, desires, resentments and other compelling emotions, the greater your ability to use them as a powerful force for creative change. By that, I mean things like moving relationships to greater levels of honesty and new depths of emotional engagement; or recognizing directly and with minimal drama that a relationship needs to transition to a new form, or ‘end’. I’m not saying there wouldn’t be any pain, but that you may be less likely to use pain as a weapon if it’s not coming from a pressurized, repressed place below the surface of awareness.
This idea of taking the reins of creative change in one’s life has been an overarching theme of this eclipse phase. As we continue approaching the Saturn-Pluto conjunction’s exact contact, I suspect that whatever we do now as Venus moves through the aspect pattern will help to set the emotional tone for how we approach the next six months with those closest to us. As I mentioned early in this piece, if you don’t like where you seem to be headed currently, this would be a great time to adjust your course. It can be done gently; but that, too, is a choice that requires awareness.