Calming the Combustible in July

by Joan Kiley

fireJuly is full of powerful aspects, powerful Moon phases, and the potential for lots of self-empowerment! And, like every opportunity for increasing our fortunes, it has a built-in shadow side that allows us to disempower ourselves as well. When I use, or in this case perhaps, overuse, the word power it is because I find the planet Pluto to be particularly involved with much of the action this month.

July began with a very edgy opposition between Mars in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn, forming a T-square with the Moon conjunct Jupiter in Libra. This cardinal T-square spoke volumes about the need for self-awareness. When Mars is in Cancer, despite its being a cardinal sign, the warrior planet does not feel quite as robust, or in charge of its will, as in some other signs. And here it is being poked and prodded by Pluto, and Jupiter, to the point where it could explode from the feeling of impotence or lack of independence. Add to that, the fact that Mars is combust the Sun for the entirety of the month. 

What is Mars “combust” the Sun? A planet is said to be combust when it is extremely close to the Sun, being conjunct up to 8°30’. The effect of such a condition is to combine the planet's influence more closely with that of the Sun, until it is incapable of total independence, because it is too integrated with the energy of the Sun. When Mars is combust it is possible to exhibit too much aggression or ego, out of frustration that the Mars energy does not feel powerful, tough or courageous enough. Adding to the confusion was a trine of Mars to Neptune during the first week of the month, the Neptune influence distorting boundaries.

People with this aspect closely aspecting their own Mars, or those particularly sensitive to Mars energy, can become quite testy, argumentative and confrontational. With Mars square Jupiter, all of this energy can be blown up and expanded. With the Moon and Pluto involved as well, we could experience profound difficulties, both public and private, with impulsive emotional reactions. In the area where I live, there were a number of large fires, at least one started by arson, plus a near plane collision at the San Francisco airport in a few short days. Thus, the need for self-awareness, staying attuned to what is your “stuff” and what isn’t. 

Saturn in Sagittarius was exactly trine Eris in Aries and also trine Uranus in Aries, and will remain in these aspects throughout July. We’re somewhat used to Saturn in Sagittarius by now, given it has been in the sign for 2 years. Our planet of structure, boundaries, and “playing by the rules” has taught many of us a great deal in its journey through the sign whose impulse is to take us out of our usual routines, beliefs, and into a new vision. These trines with Eris and Uranus keep us aware of the urge for new developments and ideas, not only for serving our own soul’s purpose, but also for encouraging us to keep believing that new structures and creative impulses will ultimately serve to sustain a topsy turvy world.

Venus was in her own sign of Taurus, exactly square the Moon’s nodes, when the month started. This tells me that many of us will have relationship and/or financial issues that we need to let go of, or make changes to, before the month is over. At 5:12 PM PDT on July 4, Venus moved into Gemini where she will remain until July 31, when she shifts into Cancer. While Venus is in Gemini, look for more ease in communication with others, as Venus will be in an easy relationship with Mercury, Gemini’s ruler.

Mercury moves out of Cancer and into Leo at 5:20 PM PDT on July 5. Mercury and Venus will be in a sextile aspect until July 25, when Mercury moves into its own sign of Virgo, and out of orb of the sextile.

The Sun was trine Neptune when the month began, it became exact on July 5, and remains in orb through the first two weeks. This aspect can fill our lives with great art, music, and glamour,  encourage us to go to more yoga classes, and help us to “go with the flow.” However, it can also fog things up, and make it more difficult to discern what’s real when blasted with scam artists and fake news. The “fog” was mistier than usual on July 13 when the Moon was conjunct Neptune.

On July 6, with the Moon conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius, trine Eris and Uranus, the Cardinal Grand Square was a stand-out formation. The square included Sun at 15 Cancer, Mars at 21 Cancer, Pluto at 18 Capricorn, Jupiter at 14 Libra, Eris at 23 Aries,  and Uranus at 28 Aries. Power dynamics, and explosive potential. In the news that day, we read about earthquakes in Montana, floods in Japan, riots in Venezuela and at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, plus the Delaware-size iceberg breaking off of Antarctica. This set the stage for the upcoming Full Moon.

Just into the second week of the month, we had the Full Moon in Capricorn at 9:05 PM PDT on July 8. The Moon was conjunct Pluto and the Sun was conjunct Mars, participating in the above-mentioned, very combustable Cardinal square. The possibility of power struggles, volatility, taking offense, acting fearfully, all while not being exactly conscious of one’s motives, were scenes of drama occurring that weekend. At the same time, there were equal opportunities for taking responsibility for one’s own emotions, walking away instead of over-reacting, and staying grounded by having actual contact with the earth and/or nature. 

The Sun and Mars in Cancer had us, at our core, wanting to feel safe and secure within our environment and what is familiar. The Moon and Pluto were saying that we can only feel secure if we are willing to go deeper, and to let go of something familiar that is no longer of use on our soul’s journey. This was the tension, the push and pull of this Full Moon period. If we were able to open to these deeper issues trying to emerge into consciousness, then we were likely able to increase our understanding of a bigger pattern of our life being revealed to us. We are living in an historical context which demands major change.

Could we see the stand-off between North Korea and the U.S. as a metaphor for the Full Moon dynamics? I believe so. The U.S. would like to feel safe and secure with our huge military and bombing capability. Yet we have created numerous enemies with our huge Sun/Martian ego run amok over the decades, a fact which most Americans would like to ignore. And rather than keep threatening North Korea, we would do much better at keeping ourselves safe by coming to “earth,” owning our guilt in being far too aggressive and trying to force other nations to our will. We need to do more to try and solve human and climate crises we have helped to create, rather than leave it to other nations to clean up our (corporate and government supported) messes. However, we are now even more isolated, after this administration’s behavior at the G-20 Summit, and even more close to a nuclear war, with irresponsible remarks following N. Korea’s recent long-range missile tests.

The weekend of July 14-16 continues to have ongoing difficult aspects, particularly between the Sun/Mars conjunction and the Eris/Uranus conjunction. We are challenged to bring forth positive, peaceful warrior energy, manifest our own unique qualities while staying calm and kind. Can we do so? We can, for the weekend also has a Fire Grand Trine between Saturn, Mercury and Eris. There is a trine between Venus and Jupiter, a square between Venus and Neptune, and the sextile of Venus with Mercury. Put all together, this could be a lightening flash weekend, OR,  the most gentle and relaxing series of days in the month. We need to be on our toes, and be aware of being triggered by situations that remind us of old woundings or offenses. Keep in mind the lyrics of “Let it go” from the film Frozen. “Let it go, let it go….Let the storm rage on…. the fears that once controlled me can't get to me at all…”

On July 18, the Moon squares its nodes, and Mercury conjuncts the North node, while the Sun/Mars conjunction trines Chiron. The Moon is in its final quarter, in a releasing phase prior to the New Moon. It feels like this combination of aspects provides the opportunity to experience feelings that remind us of our past, possibly painful ones, but also the opportunity to experience thoughts that can relieve us of the urge to stay in the pain. A part of each of us is changing. Often change is painful. Just as other beings periodically shed their skin, we, too, must make an attempt to see and understand how this releasing can bring about improvements in our life, and better alignment with our soul’s purpose. At times like this, it’s critical that we do self-care, put ourselves first, not in any negative way, but in a way that moves us forward, toward a more positive future for ourselves and our world.

Mars moves into the sign of Leo at 5:20 AM PDT on July 20. Mars will be more comfortable in this fire sign than in Cancer, but it will still be combust the Sun, and not entirely “liberated” to be itself.

The New Moon at 0 degrees 44 minutes Leo arrives on July 23, at 2:45 AM PDT. The Sun/Moon combo is conjunct Mars at 1 degree, 52 minutes Leo. Having the New Moon at the very beginning degree of Leo accentuates the fact that a New Moon is the beginning of a new cycle, a fresh start, the time for affirming one’s vision for “what’s next.” However, it is also the dark of the Moon, and until we reach a level of growing light in subsequent days, what we fully know about the cycle is nil. It is still mystery. This New Moon cycle lasts until the now famous August 21 solar eclipse, visible here in the U.S.

This fiery New Moon has intense, potentially erratic and erotic energies. Having Mars conjunct the Sun and Moon, and all three of them square Uranus, makes this exciting, yet unpredictable. We may also see more nervous tension, more irritability, easily aroused anger, even violence. So be very careful driving, and plan on vigorous activities that can release hot, erratic energy in physical ways. Try hiking, biking, dancing, sex, or whatever is your favorite safe, energy burn! And if you feel disturbed or irritable, take a break from people, and enjoy your own company. 

Leo is all about creativity, so look and feel around you. What wants to be brought to life by your creative juice? In addition to all the hot fire, this New Moon chart also has a very strong Venus/Saturn opposition, which could bring even more creative strength into your choices about how you want to express yourself, manifest something new, and be appreciated. Just be careful about the Leo ego, fraught with Uranus impulsiveness. Allow a bit of Saturn restraint to be at your New Moon table.

Mercury shifts into Virgo at 4:42 PM PDT on July 25, bringing another bit of earth, to what has been a fiery week. The Moon is also in Virgo at the time, which helps to ease any fallout from prior intense days and possible confrontations. Then on July 26, the Virgo Moon forms a T-square with the Venus/Saturn opposition, reminding us that if there are issues or details from previous days that need to be given a better look, we need to do it. It could be that a project started on the New Moon needs some tweaking, or a negotiation that didn’t go well needs to be rethought, and this would be a great time to do it.

A Moon/Uranus opposition on July 29 reiterates some of the edgy, irritable energy of the New Moon. However, with the Moon in Libra, a Venus-ruled air sign, it will be possible to take a more measured look at our progress on actions we took on the New Moon, or projects we initiated. The light of the Moon is growing, making it easier to view where we are.

We reach the first quarter Moon on July 30. Take a moment, once again, to check in with your desires and vision. The Moon is trine Neptune. Is what you are doing, and the direction you are heading, aligned with your growing consciousness? Ask your higher self. Journal or draw what comes to you. it’s been a big month. End it with a pat on the back.

Joan Kiley AstrologerSee you next month.


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