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(Still) Expanding under Pressure

Updated: Jul 20, 2023



Astro Notes for New Moon in Cancer cycle (July 17-August 16)

One of the main themes of this astrological year is that it presents tremendous opportunities for creative expansion into the new while simultaneously demanding that we excavate and clear old karmic patterns at a deeper level than ever before. This dynamic can make us feel like we are being stretched in many directions at once. We may not know at times if we’re coming or going. Yet it can be helpful to remember that we are in a collective birthing process of epic proportions. This is just what it feels like to be in the squeeze of the birth canal.


This theme of going in-and-down while also going up-and-out is never more apparent than over the next month.


In & Down:

New Moon in Cancer

The new moon in Cancer on July 17 (which set the tone for the upcoming month) was opposite Pluto in Capricorn, bringing us into deep emotional waters and asking us to be honest with ourselves about something structural that needs to change in our lives. Then, in less than one hour after the new moon, the lunar nodes changed signs, with the North Node entering Aries and the South Node entering Libra.


Lunar Nodes changing signs

The Lunar Nodes changing signs is a significant event that will shape the collective zeitgeist in important ways over the next 18 months. The North Node signifies the evolutionary direction or goal we are headed toward while the South Node points to those qualities or patterns we are releasing or de-emphasizing (though ultimately the North and South Nodes always work together).


With the North Node moving into Aries from the fixed sign of Taurus, the zeitgeist will shift toward a much more vibrant, dynamic, action-oriented energy (“just do it”). It will call us all to move in fresh, bold, new directions, to assert our independence, to step more into leadership and stand up for what we believe is right. With the South Node entering Libra, we will be looking to release patterns of fence-sitting, conflict-avoidance, and accommodation. We will want to examine those places where we have been giving away too much of ourselves for the sake of relational harmony. The combined effect of North Node in Aries and South Node in Libra means that we all will be re-negotiating our relationships over the next 18 months so they come into a more truly equitable balance that better supports each partner’s need to self-actualize.


Pluto square the Nodes

When the Lunar Nodes shift signs, they will be in an exact square to Pluto in Capricorn. Again, Pluto is the great transformer, compelling us to look honestly at uncomfortable truths and make changes to bring us more into alignment with reality. The Lunar Nodes themselves signify our evolutionary journey, the direction we need to head toward to fulfill our soul’s potential.


Pluto square the Nodes will demand that we lift the veil of denial on any patterns holding us back from fulfilling our purpose. It represents an encounter with our karmic past, a ‘skipped step’ in our evolutionary development, requiring us to sit with material from the deep personal, ancestral, and even collective unconscious. While difficult, this transit offers a profound opportunity for us to let go of karmic burdens we may have carried for lifetimes.


Venus retrograde

This dynamic of deep inner review is reinforced when Venus moves retrograde in Leo on July 23 (and remains so for about 6 weeks). Venus in retrograde will bring a deeply personal dimension to this process, bringing our attention inward to reflect on Venusian subjects like our relationships, money, and self worth. Again, this period will bring under scrutiny anything not working in a relationship, and if the foundations of the relationship are not solid, it could in some cases lead to a decision to part ways. Those relationships that do rest on a solid basis, however, are likely to undergo a healthy re-negotiation that only strengthens the bond.


This process takes on heightened importance when we consider that Venus is the ruler of the South Node when it moves into Libra. This means that the demand to rebalance our self-actualization needs with our need for interpersonal harmony — a major theme while the Nodes are in Aries and Libra over the next 18 months — will be felt especially intensely within the first six weeks of this period.


Up & Out:

Leo Season

The Sun moves into Leo on July 21. This means that all of these intensely emotional and introspective transits will be occurring amid the general backdrop of Leo season, the most extraverted time of the year. Leo in the northern hemisphere corresponds with summer at its height, the Sun at its most radiant and resplendent. Leo represents the peak of personal self-expression, the courage to be vulnerable in revealing ourselves to an audience. So even though we may feel laden with emotional heaviness, we will have Leo’s confident aura supporting us to find a way to express ourselves and connect with others. Yes, with everything going on in the sky, this might be nothing more than tearful self-disclosure in front of a group of good friends. But Leo’s medicine is the human connection that comes from risking vulnerable self-expression.


Jupiter conjunct Uranus

On July 22, Jupiter moves to within 10 degrees of Uranus in Taurus, with these two planets moving toward an exact conjunction in April next year. After everything we’ve suffered over the last several long years, Jupiter-Uranus together in the sky offers genuine hope for relief. When we have Jupiter’s principle of expansion and growth amplifying the Uranian impulse of new beginnings, we get the possibility of unexpected good fortune and sudden emancipatory breakthroughs. While we will not experience the full effects of this potentially dazzling transit until next year, the doors of opportunity will start to open as early as this coming month.


Kite Aspect Pattern: Neptune-Uranus-Pluto-Mars




Finally, from August 8 through to the end of August, we have a very auspicious aspect pattern known as a kite involving Neptune, Uranus, Pluto, and Mars. The three outer planets — Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto — are all in harmonious aspect with each other, opening a creative channel for tremendously potent transformative energies to flow through into the collective. The bigger picture is that this transit represents the beginning of the Uranus trine Pluto transit that will shape much of the coming decade. Here we again have reason for optimism in that Uranus trine Pluto typically corresponds with periods of uplifting social and cultural progress, in contrast to the divisive and problematic forms of social change we have experienced over the last 12-15 years, when Uranus was square Pluto. This decade-long period of more harmonious progress will be ignited into action by Mars in August.



The toxins associated with the decaying structures of a dying era, in both ourselves and our world, are rising to the surface to be flushed out. At the same time, if we listen closely, we can start to hear the sounds of a band playing the music of the future. We may be a ragtag army at this point, covered with bandages, nursing our wounds, less united than before. Yet our job is still to move to the rhythm of the Cosmos as best as we can. As Nietschze said, "One must have chaos to give birth to a dancing star."

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