The Sun enters the sign of Cancer on June 21st at 16.54 pm BST, officially bringing the peak of Summer to the Northern Hemisphere. Another turn in The Wheel of the Year, known in the Pagan calendar as Litha. The Sun reaches his zenith in the sky, he is at the height of his life giving power, bringing the longest day and the shortest night. It’s a time to celebrate and reflect on the growth of the seeds planted in the earth, warmed by the Sun into maturity and abundance, but also our own seeds, our creativity and achievements, the fire within.
The Sun’s entry into one of the 4 cardinal signs marks the unfolding of a new season. In the Northern Hemisphere this is, Aries ~ Spring Equinox, Cancer ~ Summer Solstice, Libra ~ Autumn Equinox and Capricorn ~ Winter Solstice. In the Southern Hemisphere this is reversed, meaning today is their Winter Solstice.
The word solstice originates from the Latin words for “Sun” and “stand still”. The Summer solstice, for us in the northern hemisphere is when the Sun reaches its highest point north relative to the Earth, pauses, then begins to move south. This increased angle of the Sun in the sky is what enables us to bask in, and enjoy, the heat, light and intensity of the Sun.
This point is measured in declination, which determines the distance north or south of the celestial equator (Earth’s equator projected into the heavens) rather than the east-west movement along the ecliptic (the path the Sun appears to travel around the Earth). Throughout the year the Sun undulates between the Tropics which mark the furthest point north, the Tropic of Cancer (around 23 degrees 26 North), or south the Tropic of Capricorn (around 23 degrees 26 South) that the Sun reaches. At the equinox’s – Latin for “equal” and “night” the Sun is at the celestial equator and 0 degrees declination.
Astrologically the Sun’s move into Cancer highlights family, home and heartfelt emotions. Mercury and Mars are already in Cancer energising us to seek and figure out where we belong, find support, contentment and security. But Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn are in opposition to Mercury and Mars and could bring obstacles, frustration and discouragement. Possibly by highlighting the relationships in our lives or societies rules and laws that hinder us.
To add to this the north node is in Cancer and the south node is in Capricorn, and so with the Sun approaching the nodes there is a Solar Eclipse on July 2nd at 11 degrees Cancer and a Lunar Eclipse on July 16th at 24 degrees Capricorn. Potentially there is tension or karma to be resolved, released and forgiven around family or family matters, especially if these degrees contact planets or angles in your chart.
Neptune placed at 18 degrees Pisces, also begins his retrograde journey today at 3.36 pm BST. Neptune retrograde means we need to cast a critical eye over our recent thoughts and actions, work out and become aware of any illusions we may have been under. Sort out and focus on what’s real and authentic.
Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto are all already retrograde, Neptune joins the crowd today, and Mercury goes retrograde on July 8th at 4 degrees Leo, ending on August 1st at 23 degrees Cancer. So during Mercury’s retrograde phase and the eclipse season, there will be 5 planets retrograde, along with Chiron who turns retrograde on July 9th – that’s a huge amount of backward motion. Mercury, currently at 25 degrees Cancer has entered the shadow phase of the Mercury retrograde zone, meaning we are likely to begin to get an idea, a gist of the themes that will arise for us personally.
During Mercury’s retrograde phases we need to keep in mind that certain situations are liable to be unsettled and changeable throughout. You think you know what is going on, where you stand, what the plan is … Until it all changes! the plan crumbles, resulting in it being slightly tweaked or completely altered.
Accentuating this during the present retrograde phase, Mercury will at varying times be conjunct Mars, square Uranus or opposite Pluto.
Mercury leaves the retrograde zone on 15th August.