July 2016: Fire and Water

July 2016: Fire and Water

Most of the planets hold their positions this July.  Other than the swift Moon, only the Sun, Mercury and Venus change signs.  These three bodies all begin the month in Cancer and then shift into Leo.  Thus the month has two portions- the watery, introverted and emotionally oriented Cancer part, and the fiery, bold and outgoing Leo one.  The first third of the month is the Cancer part, the middle is a mixture, and the last third is unabashedly leonine.

July is thus a transition from water to fire, from yin to yang.  A similar story of yin and yang, obscurity and brightness, is told by Mercury and Venus, both of whom are invisible to the naked eye at the beginning of the month, re-appear during its middle, and grow bright by the end.  Nourish strength during the first half of July, and express it during the second half.

Dreaming Beneath A Lightless Sky

The month begins with a trio of pleasing configurations.   July’s first days should thus serve to soothe what June irritated.  Venus in Cancer completes a sextile with Jupiter in Virgo on the 1st, pushing things in an optimistic and pleasant direction.  The next day, the Sun in Cancer trines Neptune in Pisces, which blurs the Sun’s piercing light, turning it into a diffuse and dreamy haze.  The imagination is strengthened under this influence, as is the ability to let things go.  This fuzziness continues with Mercury in Cancer’s subsequent trine to Neptune on Monday the 4th.  This influence may make it more difficult to concentrate on concrete matters, but opens the way for works of imagination and fancy.

While Mercury and Neptune oversee the entanglement of idea and fantasy, the New Moon in Cancer arrives.  This conjunction of the luminaries occurs under a lightless sky, early on the morning of the 4th.  The New Moon is at 12 Cancer, with Venus just ahead and Mercury only a few degrees behind.  Although not without challenges, this New Moon describes a coming month considerably less intense than the last several.   Schedule time for family, friends, and those you hold close.  The coming fortnight is a good time to strengthen connections frayed by a difficult second quarter.

The View From Atop Olympus

Mercury completes his superior conjunction with the Sun in Cancer on July 6th.  This point in the swift planet’s cycle places the Earth, Sun and Mercury in a line, with the Sun between the Earth and Mercury.  In this instance of the triannual alignment, the Earth, Sun and Mercury are joined by Pluto, who opposes the paired Sun and Mercury from our vantage here on Earth.

At this point in Mercury’s cycle, the mind reaches outward, beyond earthly matters and outside of the confines of identity.  The messenger sends us snapshots of his time visiting the gods and goddesses, full of candid snaps of divinity at play amidst a background of glowing geometrical fountains.  Yet Pluto, on the opposite side of the Earth, scoffs at these visions, counterpointing the eternal well-spring with the sad state of the world-as-it-is.  Fortunately, Jupiter in Virgo witnesses this opposition and offers a path to reconciliation.  Look not into the abyss between the real and the ideal, for its depths are infinite.  Instead, look to the other shore, and find the concealed strands of spider-silk which are the crossings of the wise.  There are reconciling paths across this divide, subtle though they may be.


Meanwhile, Venus in Cancer trines a slow-moving but direct Mars in Scorpio, re-establishing erotic harmony between the two bodies on the 6th.  Yet immediately thereafter, on the 7th, Venus squares Uranus in Aries, potentially disrupting those very harmonies.  Venus’s square to Uranus may be accompanied by emotional outbursts, yet favors attempts to step outside of existing emotional patterns.

On the 9th, the Sun in Cancer sextiles Jupiter in Virgo, which provides well for careful optimism.   This pleasant configuration gently uplifts the surrounding days, lending them a touch of grace.

On the 10th, Mercury in Cancer, following in Venus’ footsteps, makes the same nearly simultaneous aspects to Mars in Scorpio and Uranus in Aries.  The trine to Mars, which is first by a few hours, pushes the mind in a problem-solving direction, and smiles upon those tasks which require an engineer’s touch.  Mercury’s square with Uranus follows shortly, and suggests surprises, moments of breakthrough and break down.  Unusual conversations and radical perspectives may follow both on the 10th and the 11th.

Mutually Arising

Venus leaves tender Cancer behind late on Monday, July 11th, bursting out of the Crab’s shell in order to go hunt with the pride in Leo.  The days following the ingress should thus see a reversal of social orientation, as while Cancer is introverted and comfort-seeking, Leo is extraverted and performative.  In Leo, Venus blesses works of self-presentation, promotion, marketing, leadership and performance.  Venus will be in Leo until August 5th.

Only a few days later, on Wednesday the 13th, Mercury follows Venus into Leo.  As with Venus’ shift, Mercury’s will involve a definite shift from a private to more a public mode.  Thoughts turn to tricks of appearance and methods of presentation, and voices get louder, though not necessarily more coherent.  Mercury will be in Leo until July 30th.

Mercury and Venus conjoin not long after their respective ingresses.  The 16th holds this pleasing alignment.  The conjunction of Mercury and Venus brings the intellect and heart together, aiding attempts to verbalize feelings and helping add artistry to otherwise dull data sets.

Their conjunction is made all the more interesting because it occurs just as the two return to visibility.  Although low on the Western horizon after sunset, the Mercury and Venus conjunction will be visible briefly at dusk.  Every day, for the rest of the month, the pair will climb a little higher and shine a little bit brighter, though by month’s end faster Mercury will have pulled ahead of Venus by 7 degrees.

Mercury and Venus’ ingresses into Leo mark a turning point in the month’s transition from water to fire.  Things get louder and brighter from the 13th on.

The Hand of the King

While Mercury and Venus rise together in the west, the Sun makes a pair of aspects to Uranus and Mars.  The square with Uranus in Aries on the 15th suggests surprises, changes of plan and abrupt pivots while the Sun-Mars trine helps re-establish harmony between the two spheres. The 16th’s trine between the Sun in Cancer and Mars in Scorpio is the first harmonious (“soft”) aspect the Sun and Mars have made since Mars stationed retrograde back in April.  The trine between the two marks an important point in the larger Mars cycle, as it speaks to the reintegration of the Sun and Mars- the heart and the hand, the sovereign and the general.


Mercury and Venus trine Saturn on the 18th and 19th.  In the days leading up to this pair of trines, we are pushed to accept and harmonize with the current order of things.  Saturn represents duties and obligations, and it is in his sphere that the tasks which simply must be done reside.  Mercury and Venus’ trines to Saturn thus see the mind and passions both trying to come to terms with these obligations and to harmonize with them.  This configuration should be helpful for works of organization and motivation.

The Saturnian theme is reinforced rather dramatically by the big Full Moon, which takes place concurrently with Venus’ aspect to Saturn on the 19th.  The Full Moon in Capricorn, shines its light on matters of organization and structure, and highlights the discipline necessary to accomplish the work at hand.  Though being in Capricorn might focus the Full Moon’s light on organization and stability, this focus does not go unchallenged, as Uranus’s square to the Full Moon suggests disruptive and contrary factors.  You may have to accommodate some surprises into your plans, or you find yourself rebelling against your own perfect scheme.


A few days after the Full Moon, on the 22nd, the Sun strides proudly into Leo.  The Sun’s ingress into the Lion’s sign puts the star back on its own turf.  The Sun is strong in Leo, and provides an ambient boost to works of presentation, performance and leadership for the entirety of the time it occupies the feline sign.  The Sun will be in Leo until August 22nd.

The Sun’s entry into Leo completes the passage of planets from Cancer into Leo, and shifts the elemental balance above decidedly towards fire.

Parting Shots

The last third of August sees Mercury in Sunny Leo trine Uranus in Aries on the 26th, only a few days before the distant planet’s retrograde station.  Insights and innovations spring from the messenger’s conference with Uranus.  A look at old patterns is likely to yield new ideas.

After Mercury’s mentally stimulating trine with Uranus, the messenger heads toward a potentially contentious square with Mars in Scorpio on the 29th.   Mercury’s square with Mars is hard on communication and travel, as it tends to interrupt discourse with discord and journeys with mishaps.  Anger or impatience may cloud thinking or derail conversations.  Although this aspect only lasts for a few days, it is a theme we will return to later in the season, for Mercury’s next retrograde contains another pair of squares to the red planet.

Shortly after the square to Mars, Mercury leaves Leo behind, ingressing into Virgo on the 30th.  Virgo is considered to be home base for Mercury, and the swift planet is strong and fortunate within its confines.  This year, however, the journey will not be quite so simple, as Mercury’s next retrograde takes place in Virgo.  Not only does this complicate the messenger’s time in Virgo, it also extends it considerably. This year, Mercury will not leave Virgo until October 7th.

Kan and Li

The month thus ends with water having become fire.   More fire waits in August, as an accelerating Mars will re-enter Sagittarius en route to an epic conjunction with Saturn and Antares.  While July nourishes and then reveals strengths, August will test it.

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Horoscopes are not a real chart reading by an experienced astrologer. They are fun and can be reasonably accurate, however. In addition to referring to your Sun sign, read from your Ascendant and Moon if you know them. If you don’t, find out! I’m a long time fan of the free chart generation software at astro.com.
Aries: The Ram
Taurus: The Bull
Gemini: The Twins
Cancer: The Crab
Leo: The Lion
Virgo: The Virgin
Libra: The Scales
Scorpio: The Scorpion
Sagittarius: The Centaur
Capricorn: The Goat
Aquarius: The Waterbearer
Pisces: The Fish
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Austin Coppock is a writer, esotericist and astrologer based in Ashland, OR. He published paperback Almanacs from 2011-15 but began posting his prognostications online last year, referring to his collection of weekly, monthly, yearly essays and daily delineations as “The Online Almanac”. This work is made possible by his supporters on Patreon. Austin was President of the non-profit organization “Association for Young Astrologers” from 2012-2016. His most recent book is “36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans”, published by Three Hands Press.


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July 2016: Fire and Water

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