The Sun rises in the third decan of Cancer, for the first time this year, on July 12th. While the first decan appeared as a flooded river, and the second a secret garden, the third is cup overflowing with both gems and serpents. It is from this grail that the jewels of cultivation emerge. The refined stones of alchemists, the three treasures of Taoists, and the relics of dead saints all originate in this mysterious vessel. This jewelry box is in essence a cauldron, an alembic, a grail — the alchemist’s cornucopia, which operated properly produces an endless cascade of valuables.
The alchemist-witch incubates, feeds and perfects the matter over and over again, adding to her store of jewels each time. In this face we see the fruit of the process begun in the first decan of Cancer and faithfully attended to in the second. It is in this treasure-house that the luxuries of power, beauty and knowledge are kept.
Images for this decan from the past reveal a man, wreathed in serpents, in pursuit of jewels for his wife, making even perilous ocean voyages to obtain them. Whether he seeks for the secret of how to produce them, or merely desires the fruit of other’s cultivation is unclear. Other images, though, such as the one from the Yavanajataka, depict a mysterious woman with skin the color of a dark blue lotus, wearing silk, and bedecked with jewels. Is this the man’s wife for whom he quests, or a goddess who holds the secret of this alchemical mystery? Perhaps the figure is divine, for one early Greek text attributes the mighty goddess Hecate to this decan, and another, Liber Hermetis, describes a complex and surreal image composed of goddesses and dragons.
This decan is thus a place where the fruits of cultivation are revealed, the point at which the cup overflows. But it is also the place we see the fate of such jewels, and our relationship to them. How strong is our lust for these treasures, and how willing are we to dedicate ourselves to their cultivation?
Longing for, and envy of, luxuries may be experienced, and the lust for thievery may be so kindled. It is ironic, though, as the envy which leads some to steal is a thief itself, more than capable of making off with our peace of mind and ability to appreciate what we already possess. If there is a particular poison to be confronted in this decan, it is that of envy, as it corrodes gratitude, and can render one unable to appreciate the value of what they already have.
And yet, it is equally important to remember that we need not create everything ourselves. Great works of art, philosophy, literature and science are all possessed by the public domain. One can partake of these, and be so enriched, without thieving.
This year, a number of small configurations cohere and then separate during the Sun’s time in the third decan of Cancer, as there will be neither a Full nor a New Moon in this span of degrees. Our time in these days will thus provide a series of opportunities to collect and appreciate those small treasures which arise along our way. So collecting, you feed your own process, ensuring that your own fruits will be all the richer.
There is not one configuration which dominates this span of days, but instead a grab-bag of days both auspicious and ill-omened.
Mercury Sextile Jupiter: Warm Words
The first happy aspect to occur during Cancer III is Mercury in Leo’s sextile with Jupiter in Libra, which occurs on July 14th (7/14 1:46 PM PDT). This aspect will put happier thoughts in people’s heads and more pleasant words in their mouths during the surrounding days. It is a good configuration to ponder peace accords, contemplate philosophical topics and to journey in search of the good. There are gems of knowledge and conversation to be gathered here and on the days surrounding.
As we move onward toward the 17th, though, a pair of less fortuitous configurations loom. These are Venus’ blurred square with Neptune and Mars’ volatile square with Uranus.
Venus Square Neptune: Dating Phantoms
Venus in Gemini squares Neptune in Pisces on July 17th (7/17 7:32 AM PDT). Here, the distant blue giant throws Aphrodite into a misty dreamworld, which may lead her to chase fantasies or misunderstand the nature of relationships. Take care not to romanticize or demonize people around this time, as fairy tale motifs can easily distort perceptions. Still, there can be a certain entertainment value to this aspect, if one can appreciate the imaginative embroidering of the real without entirely believing it.
Mars Square Uranus: Matches and Gas
Not 12 hours later, Mars in Cancer squares Uranus in Aries (7/17 6:36 PM). Mars-Uranus is always an explosive pairing, in this case it is doubly true. Poor Mars, combust and in Cancer, tries desperately to cleanse his warrior mind of volatile psychic content while Uranus hurls bolts of red lightning his way. Some bolts may land, igniting the pressurized gasses within. Steer clear of confrontations in the days leading up to this configuration, especially if you have planets late in Cardinal signs (Cancer, Aries, Capricorn, Libra). It may be possible to contain the energy generated by this configuration, but it’s a tough one. Ask anyone who’s tried to charge a battery with a lightning bolt.
Though certainly volatile, the square between Mars and Uranus is also potentially empowering. Long hours may suddenly bear fruit in sudden revelations. The super-charge which some will receive from this aspect, as well as the subsequent Sun-Uranus square, is nonetheless disruptive, and may lead to some bad ideas if the current is not allowed to ground properly.
Venus Trine Jupiter: Perfumed Wind
Tuesday the 18th sees Venus in Gemini complete a trine with Jupiter in Libra, which serves to blow off whatever confusions settled around Venus during her previous square with Neptune (7/18 1:08 PM PDT). This is a happy angle between the two benefics, and is easily the best single aspect which occurs during the Sun’s time in this decan. Rewards, recognition and all-round good times are augured by this trine between the benefics. Though it occurs on the 18th, it will be active during the surrounding days, providing them a honeyed undertone.
Mercury Trine Saturn: Order of Operations
While Venus and Jupiter exchange pleasantries, Mercury meets with Saturn. As I wrote of this configuration in my summary of July’s astrology: “Mercury in Leo trines Saturn in Sagittarius on Wednesday the 19th (7/19 12:16 PM PDT). Mercury is one of the few planets which can tolerate Saturn’s cold demeanor, for the two both enjoy facts and logic. The Mercury-Saturn trine is excellent for scheduling and planning. Bring order to your travels and your thinking.”
Mars Enters Leo: Mighty Heart
On July 20th (Jul 20 2017 5:19 AM), Mars makes his way into Leo. As I wrote of it in “July 2017: Fire Ceremony” —
In Leo, the martial energies support the cultivation of core strength. Mars in Leo possesses the steel spine of the wrestler, though he may lack the sophistication or technique demonstrated by Mars in other signs. Raw strength of body, personality and will are the attributes of Mars in Leo. He is Heracles, draped in the invincible skin of the lion he choked out with his bare hands. The Leonine Mars is persuasive, expressive and potentially overpowering. Yet Mars in Leo also inflames the ego, making people vain and desirous of praise. There is perhaps no living figure who is a better exemplar of Mars in Leo’s qualities than Hulk Hogan, who has the red planet in the Lion’s sign in his birth chart.
This year’s trip of Mars through Leo sees the red planet in the process of purification. It is thus a matter of separating confidence from vanity, and strength of heart from mere power.
Sun Square Uranus: Spotlight and Spark Plug
Mars’ entry into Leo only briefly precedes that of the Sun. which is due to occur early on the 22nd. But before the Sun returns to its golden palace, it must first square Uranus, which it does on the 21st (7/20 5:25 PM PDT). The Sun in Cancer’s square with Uranus in Aries repeats some of the themes enacted by the Mars-Uranus square, which occurred on the 17th, but in a somewhat less intense manner. Here the Sun points, with golden beams, to what things look like right now, while Uranus provokes visions of what they could be, electrifying the limits of possibility. The unusual is more likely under this configuration, as is the disruptive, as the orthodoxy of the Sun is challenged by the noncomformity of Uranus’ vision.
Mercury Conjunct the North Node: Scrying The Dark Mirror
While the Sun squares Uranus, Mercury conjoins the North Node in Leo (7/21 2:56 AM PDT), giving us a taste of what is to come during August’s much talked about Solar Eclipse. As I wrote of it in “July 2017: Fire Ceremony” —
Mercury’s conjunction with Dragon’s Head in Leo pulls the mind deep into mattes of reputation, appearance and respect, all in accordance with the ingress of Mars into the Lion’s den and the New Moon which follows shortly thereafter. Yet what Mercury sees as he visits Rahu are not things as they are, but the need for respect, attention and performance which have not been sufficiently met.
Mercury’s conjunction with the North Node is thus not a potent event in itself, so much as it is an invitation to look into the nature of the near future.
And so, with treasures cultivated, acquired and envied, the Sun’s time in the third decan of Cancer comes to an end this year. The Sun enters Leo on the 22nd and prepares to illuminate the year’s most dramatic configurations, which will take us all the way to the end of September.