New Moons are inward times. The night sky is dark except for starlight, the Moon pared away to nothing.
At the New Moon in Cancer, looking inward is emphasized. We’re in deep waters. Emotions are strong. Staying inside our castle with the drawbridge up, the portcullis down, and the moat stocked with something lethal could feel perfect.
Yet this is Midsummer! The Solstice arrives at 12:30 am on June 21, or just after midnight on June 20, in my Eastern time zone. The calendar’s First Day of Summer is more properly Midsummer, the time of bonfires, carnivals, and collecting dew at dawn for love spells. The feast of St. John in the Christian calendar, this is a time of celebration and blessing of crops and animals in the hope of an abundant harvest.
How do we reconcile the inward focus of the New Moon with a bright summer festival? This year, we do it carefully.
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Let’s look first at the Solstice chart. Astrologically, the Summer Solstice arrives when the Sun enters the sign of Cancer. This is the Moon’s home, a watery realm where tender emotions are easily triggered, as well as the desire to retreat to a safe place. This is the sign of the Mother, the nurturer, the protector, the keeper of the hearth.
Here we find the first link between the Cancerian desire to stay home and Midsummer traditions. Because the bonfires and blessings were designed for protection. The celebrations had a warding energy to them.
Cattle and crops are vulnerable. One fierce storm, spreading disease, drought, fire: Any number of disasters could destroy new growth and endanger the harvest. Cattle were driven between paired fires to drive off bad luck and pestilence. Ritual observances helped keep the world in good order.
This year’s chart shows the Solstice Sun in an out-of-sign opposition to Saturn at the end of Sagittarius. Saturn, currently retrograde, will eventually move into Capricorn, the sign he rules as lord of discipline, responsibility, and The Way Things Have Always Been.
The Sun-Saturn opposition was exact on June 15 with the Sun in late Gemini. In this retrograde, we’ve been doing the “re–” work with Saturn: Reexamining our principles, recommitting to key goals, being responsible for who we are and what we do in the world.
As the Sun moved into Cancer, our response to Saturn started to shift.
Saturn can assert his authority by becoming bombastic. At the end of Sag, he knows how to mansplain. One response to overweening authority is to hide. Cancer the Crab is excellent at strategic retreat and protective coloration.
Another response is to fight back. Both the Solstice and New Moon charts continue to highlight the importance of Fire. Uranus the revolutionary trines the North Node in Leo, calling for big changes in our path into the future.
Eris the chaos goddess trines Saturn. Although trines are generally flows of supportive energy, it’s difficult to see these two connecting easily. It feels more like Saturn is trying to squelch chaos with traditional discipline, or perhaps just stage a cover up, while Eris twists away from every attempt to hold her down.
And Mars is widely conjunct this New Moon. Could conflict erupt? Maybe, but open conflict is not the Cancerian way. Hidden conflicts and passive aggression are much more likely. Think conspiracy theories, suspicion between friends, gossip, and the anonymity of internet trolls.
This all sounds terribly mean-spirited and small. Not at all what we want for a New Moon, when we plant seeds for the time to come. At a New Moon, we look for good seeds to plant, the wishes and intentions we want to pour energy into.
At the Solstice, Mercury is conjunct the Sun from the last, anaretic degree of Gemini. By the New Moon, he is resting in Cancer, where we speak from a different place. Moving away from the verbal gymnastics of Gemini, we have the opportunity to meld head and heart. We can, if we focus, articulate our feelings.
At this New Moon in Cancer, we direct our energy to reconnect with the Mother as Source, the sacred feminine. We look to models of power that are collaborative. We draw power not from the fist, but the heart. From love.
In early June, Venus moved from Aries into Taurus, a sign she loves and rules. Here, the goddess is powerful, grounded, her feet solidly on the earth. She is alive to the sensual beauties all around her. She wants to share her abundance with everyone.
At the Solstice, Venus and the Moon are conjunct in Taurus. We feel the earth in our bodies. We take care of ourselves. We love deeply.
The goddess is undergoing a transformation. At the Solstice and New Moon, Venus trines Pluto. Fundamental change is possible. In the presence of Pluto, fundamental change is inevitable.
There is an interesting thing about Mars in Cancer. It’s not a comfortable place for this fighter who prefers direct action. Yet Mars is the triplicity ruler of Cancer in both day and night charts, a form of dignity for this martial planet.
Where does this dignity come from? It is rooted in the understanding that Mars can actually be more effective, more beneficial, when his fiery nature is dampened by the cool, calm waters of Cancer. In this light, it is interesting to remember that martial societies as different as the ancient Celts and the Iroquois Federation maintained councils of grandmothers who managed the training of warriors and determined when it was appropriate to go to war.
Other intriguing patterns surround Mars. A square from Jupiter in Libra could be calming or expanding. A trine from Neptune in Pisces could moves Mars action into a higher plane, or create a lot of delusion. A direct opposition from asteroid Juno might try to keep Mars focused on what is fair, or could lead to a standoff.
You see the difficulty.
When there are many aspects, it becomes difficult to say what might happen. I think this is the point of this New Moon in Cancer. When we face challenge, when there is conflict, there are choices. We decide how we interpret situations. We decide how to respond.
At this New Moon in Cancer, the choices cluster around our feminine side, something we all have. What do women’s ways of handling power look like? In the face of challenge, do we hide? Do we become frightened? Do we sink into delusion? Do we become passive aggressive?
Or do we connect deeply with the earth beneath our feet, as Venus in Taurus does, and rise up? Do we remember all we want to protect and preserve–the world of nature, children, those who need care and support–and rise up in all our power?
If we’ve fallen into negative patterns, there is an out-of-sign square from Chiron the wounded healer. Late in Pisces, he’s getting ready to transition into Aries. When he does, he hits the Aries point, where new beginnings happen. We are on the edge of new healing possibilities.
At this New Moon, we are invited to plant seeds for the divine feminine. Perhaps we already know what we need: Deeper grounding, inner peace, access to our deepest power. If we do not, we can ask the goddess. She will know what we need. One of our seeds, if we choose, can be for her.