Remembering How to Care on the Cancer Solstice

Posted by Amanda Painter

Excerpt from "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus; photo of a mural in Phoenix, Arizona.

Today is the Cancer solstice: the day when the Sun ingresses Cancer. As Amanda Painter writes, this year, two of the strongest themes of Cancer certainly are at the forefront of U.S. consciousness: taking care (or not), and emotions/sensitivity. There’s also an interesting Venus-Mars opposition as Mars prepares to station retrograde.

By Amanda Painter

Today is the Cancer solstice: the day when the Sun ingresses Cancer. It’s the longest day of the year, kicking off summer in the Northern Hemisphere (in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the shortest day and winter begins). And this year, two of the strongest themes of Cancer certainly are at the forefront of U.S. consciousness: taking care (or not), and emotions/sensitivity.

Excerpt from "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus; photo of a mural in Phoenix, Arizona.

Excerpt from “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, 1883, on the Statue of Liberty; photo of a mural in Phoenix, Arizona.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a decent amount of time this week making calls to various political officials and departments, signing petitions, and getting pulled into heated social media exchanges — all regarding the continuing separation and detention of young children from their parents at the U.S. border. As I write this on Wednesday, news is breaking that Pres. Trump has signed an executive order to reverse this policy — one that was implemented by his Administration.

While that strikes some as good news on the surface, it does not undo the trauma caused to thousands of children (most appallingly), to their parents, and even to the Immigration employees tasked with carrying out the separation and commanded not to comfort the crying, terrified kids. Additionally, the executive order appears to set up an even more complicated situation. (Addendum: it looks like crossing the border without permission could become a felony rather than a misdemeanor; and, there appears to be no plan to reunite children with their parents or to track them. I’m also seeing reports of a history of giving separated kids psychiatric drugs to keep them subdued. Please see today’s Democracy Now! post for more information on the deepening mess.)

With Mercury and the asteroid Pallas already in Cancer, we get an image of the emotion-soaked thinking going on now, and of the sympathy-provoking strategies at play (or the hypersensitivity-provoking strategies, depending on your political viewpoint). When the Sun joins these objects in Cancer at 6:07 am EDT (10:07:11 UTC), will there be a reinforcement of empathy and willingness to take care of others? Or will it manifest as needing to be taken care of (such as wanting the government to keep more immigrants out to keep us ‘safe’)?

Either scenario is possible. Or, rather, both are likely, given the spectrum of current emotional states and worldviews.

It’s worth noting that in the Cancer solstice chart, there are a couple of grand trines operating. There’s a grand fire trine involving Juno conjunct Eris in Aries, Ceres in Leo, and Vesta conjunct Pholus in Sagittarius. I’d say this describes how fired up people are: both in terms of being spiritually lit up, and perhaps in terms of tempers flaring.

Then there’s a slightly looser grand water trine: Mercury conjunct Pallas in Cancer, Jupiter in Scorpio, and Neptune and Nessus in Pisces. Here we see an emotional whirlpool: free-flowing empathy and creative imagination at its best, or a lack of grounding at its worst.

Interestingly, the earth element in this chart comes through primarily with Uranus in Taurus. Uranus is not generally thought of as a stabilizing force. But the Cancer Sun immediately makes a sextile to it, which may help you to get creative with how you use the emotions you’re feeling to care for others in tangible ways. And Saturn in Capricorn is not far off, bringing a stabilizing influence to the originality of Uranus — even if you feel like you’re facing off against an impossible opponent.

The last feature of the solstice chart that I’d like to touch on is an opposition between Venus in Leo and Mars in Aquarius. As you’ve likely read in Planet Waves recently, Mars is about to station retrograde in Aquarius on June 26. That alone suggests that this Venus-Mars opposition is a little different from most.

I’m not entirely sure, though, whether the impending retrograde station of Mars here indicates that the inherent creative and sexual energy could be harder to express (or might get reversed somehow) — which might then manifest as conflict instead. Or, whether it describes the loyalty, courage and heart of Venus in Leo as being the more stable, forward-acting agent in your personal interactions. Likely it depends on your individual circumstances and astrology — and on the choices you make.

For sure, if you have an opportunity to dig into self-expressive creative work or healthy ways to release sexual energy (solo or with a partner), those would be ideal for channeling Venus and Mars. Given that Leo and Aquarius are involved, you might also find that engaging fully with some kind of humanitarian work (especially if you take the lead in some way) could scratch the itch.

Either way, astrologer (and former Planet Waves contributor) Gary Caton has suggested that this particular Venus-Mars opposition is actually a rare one, and may manifest as a cultural tipping point. I’ll try to remember to post a link to his public Facebook post on the topic in the comment section; it’s a little on the technical side, but I suspect a number of readers may find it fascinating.

For many people all over the world, a tipping point could be constructive (depending on which way things tip). The idea brings to mind this passage from the end of the section on solar Cancer in Isabel Hickey’s book Astrology: A Cosmic Science:

Cancer rules the public; mass consciousness. Mass consciousness is ruled by feeling, never by reason. Propagandists and advertising agencies know this fact well and make full use of it in dealing with the public. America, born on the fourth of July, is Cancer born. At the entrance to New York harbor stands a feminine statue that portrays the Cancer type so very well. The protective, yearning, sustaining power is Cancer at its best. We, as a nation, do have a very strong emotional response to the world’s need. We need to add to this quality the qualities of reason and discrimination.

Of course, by “discrimination,” Hickey means discernment. She’s not calling for us to discriminate against those in genuine need, any more than the famous poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty does. How we collectively got to the point of doing so in such a specifically barbaric way as we’re witnessing now involves many factors; one of which is surely the misdirected and magnified desire for ‘safety’ and ‘security’ and to be ‘taken care of’.

That need has been exploited, as has our fear. If you’ve read this far, perhaps you’re someone who’s begun to find your sense of security within yourself and can model that for others — shining your light like Lady Liberty’s famous torch, caring for the huddled masses in whatever small ways you can.


Eric has now completed all 12 signs of The Sacred Space of Self, the 2018 Spring Reading on Chiron’s transition into Aries, and Mars retrograde in Aquarius over the summer. Order today and get all 12 signs for just $99. Check out our sample videos here, and the full Guide to Chiron Transits here.

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