This June is a spinning carousel, whose revolutions will leave us alternately elated and nauseous.
The month’s first week contains a potent configuration of planets known as a Grand Cross. This Grand Cross is constituted by Neptune and the Dragon’s Tail in Pisces (Water), Saturn in Sagittarius (Fire), Jupiter and the Dragon’s Head in Virgo (Earth) and the Sun and Venus in Gemini (Air). While the Grand Cross is active the winds whip about, depositing and whisking things away with surprising rapidity. Matters shift very rapidly, but they do not necessarily do so in a clear, decisive manner. Situations may appear radically different from one day to another. Amidst these conditions, it is of great importance to hold one’s center and not chase the quickly shifting phenomena.
Grand Crosses are configurations of great tension, parallel to metereological storm systems. Discordant qualities- hot and cold, wet and dry, are joined together. These contrarities work themselves out through the drama of thunder, lightning, rain and wind. Yet the tempest’s strum und drang is merely nature’s method of resolving contradictions. Peace inevitably reigns after a storm, because storms are the very process by which conflicts are resolved.
Although storms are characterized by a violence of motion, they have the ironic effect of bringing human affairs to a stop. One cannot fly during a storm, and may, in fact, be stuck at home. Grand Crosses thus both bring excessive motion and excessive stillness. There is a parallel to hurricanes here, which have at their center an “eye” in which harmony reigns. This eye is the point of reconciliation, the literal and figurative center. Staying within the center, wherever it may roam, is thus highly advised.
The New Moon in Gemini occurs in the midst of the Grand Cross, on June 4th. This lunation gathers the complications of this period into itself, using the pattern of the planets as a template for the ensuing two weeks. If you find your mind chasing the storm’s periphery, draw it back to the quiet eye at its center.
This pull back toward the center is further reinforced by Venus’ superior conjunction with the Sun, which occurs only a few days later, on June 6th (2:50 PM PDT) This configuration sees Venus hidden on the far side of the Sun, as far from us as the bright planet gets. Venus’ superior conjunction with the Sun occurs once every year and a half, with the last instance having taken place in October of 2014, and the next waiting for us in January 2018.
Here the heart reaches out beyond the Sun, beyond the self, and opens to the world, to the people, which lie beyond the patterned light of our identity. There is inspiration to be found here, as well as humility. Our deepest longings always extend beyond the self, for they are the soul’s way of opening a hand to what is Other and unknown. Reserve some time on the 6th to tilt the mirror away from yourself. The beauty and mystery of the world waits to be seen— you just have to stop blocking the light.
Dire Weapon of the Tongue
On Thursday the 9th (10:00 AM PDT), just as the early month’s Grand Cross is starting to break up, Mercury in Taurus and a retrograde Mars in Scorpio come into perfect opposition with one another. This configuration, which colors the surrounding days, brings the conversation around to the heart of today’s conflicts. Under this configuration, it is easy to find the courage to speak up. It can, however, be difficult to locate the discipline needed to speak with compassion.
It is worth noting that this opposition occurs with Mercury tightly conjoined the Caput Algol, a fixed star of fearsome reputation. Imagined as the severed Head of Medusa, this star is correlated with a loss of rational control, figuratively “losing one’s head.”
On June 12th (4:20 PM PDT), Mercury enters clever Gemini. The messenger is considered to be at home in the dual-bodied sign, and strengthens both cognition and communication while within it. Mercury’s time in Gemini is useful for a works of both transportation and communication. Mercury will be at top speed during his time in the Twin’s sign, covering nearly two degrees a day. Such velocity will see the swift planet all the way through Gemini by June 30th. From the 18th-22nd, Mercury will reactivate the Grand Cross configuration which began the month, setting things spinning again, though the second spin cycle will likely be more productive.
On the 13th, Neptune stations retrograde, beginning its annual five-month journey backward. The big blue planet’s retrograde phase pulls us back down to earth, helping to unravel us from dreams which we’ve become too wrapped up in.
Venus makes her way out of bifurcated Gemini and enters intimacy-seeking Cancer on the 17th (12:38 PM PDT). Venus’ shift into Cancer activates our sensitive side. Big groups and loud venues are less pleasing than the close circle while Venus is in the Crab’s sign. Feelings of vulnerability are heightened during Venus’s tie in Cancer, so take care not to take things to heart too quickly, or to accidentally wound someone more deeply than you intend.
Waves and Walls
Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces complete a square on June 17th. This is the second such angle that they have made since 2015, part of a series of three. The first of these squares occurred toward the end of last year’s November, and the last installment is due on September 10th.
Saturn advocates for strong walls and stern discipline while Neptune is content to let things flow as they will. The two powers of concretization and dissolution, of walls and waves, are quite clearly contrary and Saturn’s attempts to build firm boundaries is confused by Neptune’s insistence on seeping through every crack.
Though the friction between the two planets can be witnessed in a variety of places, it is perhaps most clear in the ongoing refugee crisis, which took shape on the same time line as the square between Saturn and Neptune. The current administrative structure of the EU is simply unequipped for the flood of refugees streaming out of the Middle East and North Africa. Responses to the crisis have tended to bifurcate into the Neptunian- limitless compassion, and the Saturnian- higher walls.
On a personal level, the friction between these planets corresponds to a confusion about when to be disciplined, and when to let things flow. Great benefit comes from separating what you’re trying to concretize from what you’re trying to dissolve, as both processes can occur, but not in the same place and at the same time.
The days surrounding this year’s solstice are awhirl with activity. The day after Saturn and Neptune’s exact square, Mercury rekindles the Grand Cross formation that began the month. This second cross will highlight tangles which were not resolved early in the month, bringing the topics back up in order to shepherd them toward resolution. This additional intensity infuses the 18th – 22nd, enclosing both the dramatic Full Moon and the Solstice itself.
The Full Moon in Sagittarius arrives on June 20th (3:59 AM PDT), only hours before from the solstice. That fact alone would make this a noteworthy lunation, but it also happens to be the second Full Moon in Sagittarius in a row, the first having occurred on May 21st. This rare “blue moon” indicates a tremendous emphasis on the action of the Archer’s sign. This double-dose of lunar radiation is likely to brings matter to fruition more swiftly than usual, quickening events and ideas that might otherwise have taken months to brew.
Immediately following the Full Moon, the Sun leaves the Twins behind, forsaking their binary for the Crab’s careful unity. The Sun’s time in Cancer illuminates our needs for comfort, security and intimacy. Its beams alight on family and old friends, and shine on our deepest emotional needs. The Sun will be Cancer until July 22nd.This transition marks the solstice, the point of maximum polarization between day and night. From this power point a new season is born.
Though it may well be overshadowed by Mars’ station on the 29th, Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn make their third and final trine on June 25th. Jupiter and Pluto have swung in and out of a trine since the 4th quarter of 2015, and in that time have yielded benefits to those who bothered to dig for treasure, whether in volumes of forgotten lore, in the attics of great-grandparents now deceased, or in the darkened caverns of their souls. This third and final aspect between the two shines brightly on the fruit of such excavations.
This is followed a few days hence by Mercury’s entrance into Cancer on the 29th. This shift pulls the mind away from rapid fire speculation and abstraction, and toward the tender truths at work in the human heart.
The month comes to a close with Mars’ long awaited station direct on the 29th. After more than 10 weeks of contrary motion, the red planet comes to a rest at 23’03” Scorpio, and from there makes plans for a forward march. With the retreat over, we’ll emerge from our workshops, tools forge-fresh from the blast furnace of 2016’s second quarter.