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.
Mercury and Venus’ aspects to Jupiter during this space of days offer a sampler of social delights. A little friction with others may yield a small shower of creative sparks. After the aspects to Jupiter, Mercury and Venus both move on to Saturn. Mercury’s trine with the slow planet highlights the relationship between your creative energy and your long term aspirations, while Venus’ opposition with Saturn may ask you to curtail short-term pleasures for the sake of long term goals.
Meanwhile, Mars and then the Sun square Uranus. Home and family may try your patience. But the same spark that may irritate will also illuminate. Be open to new perspectives on old relationships.
Mars’ entrance into Leo on the 20th, however, should have you feeling better and brighter than you have for some time. The red planet’s time in the Lion’s sign will super-charge your creative powers. The trick will be not to dissipate your potency, but instead to point yourself at the right project and keep at it.
Mercury and Venus’s happy aspects to Jupiter over this span of 10 days should serve to help bolster both your physical and fiscal health. After sextiling Jupiter, Mercury will move on to a trine with Saturn, which will help clarify troubling matters of the heart, especially those connected to issues of shared resources, monies owed, and legacies. Subsequently, Venus opposes Saturn, pointing at what’s yours and what’s not in a potentially less-than-pleasant manner.
Meanwhile, the Mars and then the Sun square Uranus, which may serve to highlight frustrations with your schedule, or frictions in sibling-like relationships.
Finally, Mars entrance into Leo on the 20th sees the red planet move into your home for the next 6 weeks. This move may kindle conflicts with family and general dissatisfaction with your living situation. Yet the fire that burns also illuminates, and may empower. Look at how you might use your irritations to fuel constructive courses of action.
Mercury and Venus both make happy aspects with Jupiter during the Sun’s passage through Cancer III. Good times are augured by these configurations. You might also find them particularly inspiring creatively. After aspects to Jupiter, though, both Mercury and Venus move on to Saturn. Each spotlight relational dynamics and obligations to other people.
Meanwhile, both the Sun and Mars square Uranus. These aspects threaten to gobble up some of your resources. Make sure to keep an eye on spending this week. After squaring Uranus, Mars enters Leo, where the red planet will reside for the next 6 weeks. If you’re willing to take on the daily workload which Mars has to offer, this can be a phase of great accomplishment.
Mercury in Leo and Venus in Gemini both make happy aspects to Jupiter in Libra during this span of days, providing benefits both to your bank account and peace of mind. After aspecting Jupiter, both planets move on to contacts with Saturn. Mercury’s trine to Saturn points to the manner in which your financial situation and your habits are entwined, while Venus’ opposition with the leaden planet outlines the connection between patterns of feeling and action.
Meanwhile, Mars and the Sun in Cancer square Uranus in Aries. These aspects may trigger moments of irritation or push you toward extreme efforts in your professional life. Try to keep a handle on your passions and limit your exertions, as the potential for anger and injury is there.
Shortly thereafter, Mars moves into Leo, where he will be for the next 6 weeks. In Leo, Mars asks that you point your exertions towards tangible and productive outcomes, such as the creation of valuable things, as well as the accumulation thereof.
Mercury in Leo and Venus in Gemini both make harmonious aspects with benefic Jupiter in Libra during this span of days, offering a series of social delights. It is a good set of configurations for making connections and general social circulation. After aspecting Jupiter, Mercury moves on to a trine with Saturn, which might be a good time to consider what you’ve committed your creative energy to, and what the results of those investments have been. Venus, too, aspects Saturn after conferring with Jupiter. Venus’ opposition to Saturn asks how much time and energy you can afford to spend on the social aspects of your life.
Later, Mars and then the Sun Cancer square Uranus in Aries. Hidden issues may threaten to frustrate progress toward long-term goals. Consider to what degree you have contributed to these irritations, and what you can do to minimize their re-occurrence.
Finally, on the 20th, Mars enters your sign. For the next 6 weeks, Mars will inflame you, for better and worse. This can be a very productive or destructive time period, depending on what you do with the flaming torch the red planet hands you.
Mercury and Venus both make happy aspects to Jupiter during this span of days, which should provide your financial and professional situation with a scattering of jewels. After these pleasant aspects, the two move on to aspect Saturn. Difficulties with home or family may limit professional pleasures during the Venus-Saturn opposition, while the Mercury-Saturn trine offers to help solve issues connected to family and living situation.
Meanwhile, Mars and then the Sun in Cancer square Uranus in Aries. Frustrations with a lack of reciprocity may be felt in regard to friendships here. Yet this configuration is just as likely to provide insight as irritation.
Finally, Mars leaves Cancer and enters Leo on the 20th. The red planet’s time in the Lion’s sign is due to stir up neglected feelings of irritation and anger about matters in which you are not given proper credit. Ascertaining the subtle balance between the sin of pride and the virtue of self-respect will be the key to solving those issues which do emerge.
The happy aspects which Mercury and Venus make to Jupiter show mutually beneficial relationships between you and your community, and highlight the rewards which come from cooperating with destiny. Mercury then moves into a trine with Saturn, which will aid in organizing plans and bringing order to your calendar. Venus also moves on to Saturn, though the relationship between the two is an opposition. Long term goals may need to be temporarily set aside in order to take care of more pressing short-term matters.
Meanwhile, Mars and then the Sun square Uranus in Aries. Professional activities might be disrupted or surprisingly empowered by the people in your life.
Finally, on the 20th, Mars moves into Leo, where it will be for the next 6 weeks. The focus of the red planet’s fire will be on your relationship with communities and colleagues. Though there may be frustrations with people or conflicts with them, the primary power of this configuration is to highlight how you project yourself into the public sphere, and the consequences, both positive and negative, thereof.
Mercury and Venus’ harmonious aspects with Jupiter send a few blessings toward your professional life and highlight some nice moments with friends. After sextiling Jupiter, Mercury moves on to a trine with Saturn, which may yield insight into how to better manage or resolve financial issues. Venus then opposes Saturn, highlighting entanglements and disagreements as to what you, or someone else, is due.
Meanwhile, Mars and the Sun in Cancer square Uranus in Aries, which may highlight the friction between your routine and your long-term goals. Make sure that your habits, which are but actions repeated, are helping you move forward rather than holding you back.
On the 20th, the last day of the Sun’s time in Cancer, Mars enters Leo. Mars’ time in the lion’s sign will see its fire race across your professional life. It is likely that it will be an unusually busy time. Through this amplified action, you will come to a better understanding of your role in this world.
Mercury and Venus make happy aspects with Jupiter during this span of days, shedding fortunate and fun light on your relationships with friends and lovers, as well as clarifying your sense of direction. Shortly afterward, Mercury moves on to a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius, spotlighting the discipline proper to your long-term goals. Venus then makes an opposition with Saturn, highlighting the degree to which your obligations compete with your relationships for time.
Meanwhile, Uranus and then the Sun in Cancer square Uranus in Aries. This configuration might spotlight frictions in whatever business or creative relationships you are a part of. Monies shared, loaned or borrowed may also be an issue. If you have a sudden change of perspective on these matters, take some time to mull it over before taking action.
Finally, on the last day of the Sun’s time in Cancer, Mars moves into Leo, where he will be for the ensuing 6 weeks. During this time, Mars’s harsh fire will further illuminate the nature of your journey, and the tools you will need for the next part of your quest.
Mercury and Venus both make harmonious aspects to Jupiter during this span of days. Both planets are in position to help solve problems, as they offer both psychic and financial assistance. After sextiling Jupiter, Mercury moves on to a trine with Saturn, which offers insight into psychological blockages or ongoing disatisfactions. Finally, Venus opposes Saturn, spotlighting the relationship between patterns of feeling and action.
Mars and the Sun both square Uranus during this time, which may serve to catalyze changes of perspective on family and relationships. Some of these changes may be swift, and not all will be positive. If you find certain connections suddenly intolerable, take the time to process your reaction before making permanent changes.
After all the above is said and done, Mars enters Leo. Mars will be in the Lion’s den for the next 6 weeks, and during that time will emphasize the power which comes from team work. Banding together with the right allies can give you the ability to accomplish what you might never do on your own.
Mercury and Venus both form beneficent angles to Jupiter during this decan. These configurations are supportive of your relationships and the life you’re working to create. Enjoy the progress you’ve made and the experiences you’ve shared. After aspecting Jupiter, Mercury moves on to make a trine with Saturn, which highlights the structure of your social life. Consider who you’re letting in to your world, and who you stop at the door. After trining Jupiter, Venus opposes Saturn, asking you to consider how much of your creative energy you want to spend on social matters, and how much you want to save for private projects.
Mars and the Sun in Cancer both square Uranus in Aries during this span of days, which might interrupt your regularly scheduled activities. Whether the interruption will be rude, or a breath of fresh air, is not clear, but regardless, try not to get pissy if your calendar goes off track.
Mars enters Leo on the 20th, the last day of the decan. Mars’ time in Leo, which will last until early September, highlights the way that you handle conflict in relationships. Though some sparks may fly, in that fiery light you’ll see things about yourself and those close to you illuminated.
Mercury and Venus both aspect benefic Jupiter during the days that the Sun wanders the third decan of Cancer. Venus sends kind feelings toward family, and Mercury will be more than happy to help solve concrete problems. After aspecting Jupiter, Mercury will team up with Saturn, and the two together will provide suggestions as to how you might better optimize your habits for your professional life. Venus, on the other hand, will oppose Saturn, and the two will make clear the choice between professional obligation and personal pleasure.
Meanwhile, Mars and the Sun in Cancer both square Uranus in Aries, perhaps offering sudden insight into the relationship between the way you invest your creative energy and your financial status.
Finally, on the last day of the decan, July 20th, Mars enters Leo. During the 6 weeks Mars is in the Lion’s sign, he intends to work you hard. It would be best to cooperate with the red planet’s plans. It is a fine time to reforge your habits. Consider a bold regimen of diet and exercise, or an ambitious daily practice of another sort.