In Times of Trouble


July 12, 2018 at 3:04 am PDT / 10:04 pm UT
The Sun & Pluto Opposed at 20°01' Cancer

July 12, 2018 at 7:48 am PDT / 2:48 am UT (13th)
The Moon and Sun Conjoined at 20°41' Cancer

picThis week's New Moon falls in compassionate (sometimes touchy) Cancer, our special guide over the next month. A sign that can heighten moodiness, ruled as it is by that ever-changing nightlight of ours. With Cancer at the helm, we can be charming, glyphsweet and considerate one moment, and cranky, out of sorts and irritable the next. This shifting, dual nature is a distinct aspect of Cancer, represented in its crab-shaped "yin-yang" glyph.

When Cancer is a strong influence, we can easily confuse what we are feeling with what others are feeling, which can make relating a very tricky ordeal. Thus when the New Moon falls in Cancer, we can have more trouble objectively dealing with challenging situations, especially emotionally charged ones. When Cancerian sensitivity is working well, however, and we are surrounded by loving family and friends, a wonderful feeling of connectedness and sympatico can flow. It is much easier to feel at home somehow, and to know just the right way to make others feel at home too. Cancer is the archetypal Mother, symbolic of divine Mother Mary and her unceasing, unconditional love.

During the Cancer New Moon cycle each year, it is wise to devote extra time and energy to those people we love the most, the people we've admitted into a very important club: our own intimate, most trusted circle of family and friends. Loved ones with whom we can let down our guard, relax and share our most vulnerable selves. The people we often take for granted the most.

New Moon & Partial Solar Eclipse

This week's Cancer New Moon is no ordinary lunation for it also happens to be a partial solar eclipse, the first eclipse of the summer, and the first eclipse to fall in Cancer since 2011. This summer we also get a bonus eclipse: three, rather than the usual two. Two partial solar eclipses with a total lunar in between.

A Partial Solar Eclipse taken from the Ventura Pier (California), 2002 (Bob Carey / Los Angeles Times)

A partial solar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Moon and Earth do not align perfectly and looks, as the photo above shows, as if a little bite was taken out of the Sun. This week's eclipse will graze the Earth at the south pole, visible from very few locations on land: a small section of southern Australia, including Melbourne, Adelaide, all of Tasmania, and a very small portion of northern Antarctica.

Eclipses Come in Families

Eclipses are not orphans, they come in families, each with their own unique characteristics. Our soon-to-strike eclipse comes from a family that began its life way back in the year 792, elderly for an eclipse family, indeed nearing the end of its long run, with one final tiny partial eclipse in July 2036.

Bernadette Brady, whose discusses all things eclipses in her book, Predictive Astrology, notes that this currently active eclipse family is an especially challenging one, that can bring difficulties in our closest relationships. "You will be dealing with," Brady tells us, "separations or endings of a union." However, she adds, "although the picture may look glum as the eclipse takes effect, the actual results are quite positive. You will quickly grasp what has to be done and fast action can bring good results."

This Saros Series previously produced eclipses in 1946, 1964, 1982 and 2000. If you were around for some or all of those dates, similar issues may be breaking shore in your life now. As always with astrology, concerned as it is with cycles of life, what goes around swings back around eventually. Yet history doesn't repeat itself, more so it rhymes, as Mark Twain is credited as saying (Thank you April Kent for that gem.) What was happening in your life during the previous dates? Did significant events happen? Chances are similar motifs are operating once more. Time to peel away another layer of that same onion. What kind of onion are you peeling?

* * *

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

And in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

— John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Solar Eclipse + Pluto

Looking at the chart for this lunation, what jumps out immediately is an almost exact opposition from the Cancer New Moon/solar eclipse to that troubling, dark horse Pluto. Apparently a solar eclipse isn't enough excitement.

Currently traveling through formidable, "take no prisoners" Capricorn, Pluto represents the chthonic, underlying, sometimes devastating forces of Mother Nature. Profound change at that subterranean, tectonic level: death, rebirth, power issues of survival, the use and abuse of resources, sexual power, all things hidden and taboo — everything buried deep in those vast, underground circuits of the psyche are associated with this small and distant, but nevertheless powerful, dwarf planet. All of these Pluto-related themes of life and death are currently being stirred up BIGTIME right now.

The Sun-Pluto opposition marks the fruition point/turning point in a cycle that began last January when the two conjoined in Capricorn. Now the cycle culminates right on a deeply emotional, steeped-in-the-past Cancer New Moon / Solar Eclipse.

With an eclipsed Sun opposite Pluto falling across Saturn-ruled, "get real" Capricorn and self-protective Cancer — unresolved issues related to the Sun (ego, creative expression, the pursuit of happiness and joy in life, When the giver of life, our central star, joins forces with the soulful Moon to oppose the Lord of the Underworld, God of the Realm of the Dead, ancient wounds from the far murky past can re-emerge.reaching your full potential) and the Moon (the deeper emotional nature, how feelings of safety and security are derived, how we protect and nurture ourselves and our loved ones), will probably get churned up over the next few weeks. When the giver of life, our central star, joins forces with the soulful Moon to oppose the Lord of the Underworld, God of the Realm of the Dead, ancient wounds from the far murky past can re-emerge. Problems we thought we had resolved long ago can spring back up, difficulties that tend to "snag us" return. Ancient struggles wind their way back through the long, dark labyrinth of our memory banks by this intense, "reverse gravity motion" of Sun-Moon-Pluto to break the surface of our lives.

How powerfully this Sun-Pluto opposition/eclipse breaks shore in your life depends on how closely it interfaces with your natal chart. If you have natal elements in the 20-degree range of Cancer, Capricorn, as well as the other two cardinal signs, Aries and Libra, you'll be feeling the effects of this "purge and transform" cycle much more profoundly. Perhaps strange dreams will intrude, disturbing your personal universe and revealing imbalances you need to address more honestly. With Pluto, the truth shall set you free, but first it will undoubtedly irritate, repulse, or scare the living daylights out of you. But Pluto is also, ironically, the God of Riches, and it is just this Plutonian raw material, if we are strong enough to face, endure and mine it, that provides the very juices — vital energy and power — we need to propel us further and more deeply INTO life.

* * *

One of my favorite astrologers, the late great Alice O. Howell, summed up the Plutonian function so well; and while I've shared this before, I'm going to share it again, it fits so well with everything going on. This is from her insightful book, Jungian Archetypes in Astrology:

It is possible that Pluto rules the "personal unconscious" of the collective, and that we have to deal with and integrate the cumulative crimes of hate, fear, anger, greed, and the abuse of power, of nature and of sexuality perpetrated throughout history. These are our collective complexes and, like an international debt, each of us carries a share. Pluto's process is severe. It teaches that there is a difference between nature's laws and the ego's moral laws. Cosmic law is absolute, and nature stronger than we are. But we forget. As Jung has pointed out, our greatest enemy is ourselves. The retribution is implacable. We must learn or suffer the consequences."

— Alice O. Howell

But then again remember — and this is especially true during a Pluto-fueled eclipse with a rambling, vitality-sapping retrograde Mars in the background — YOU ARE ONLY HUMAN. Before you go after those inner dragons like some Saint Michael archangel superhero, there are conditions, as that great Serenity Prayer reminds us, we can change, others we just can't. Knowing the difference is the trick. Sometimes we just have to let it be.




From Pluto's Depths

As I mentioned above, last January, the 9th to be exact, there was a conjunction of the Sun and Pluto at 19° Capricorn, which initiated the cycle that is, half a year later, now culminating. A particularly complex triple conjunction that also included Venus, if you didn't get a chance to read that essay, it may provide insights into struggles and difficulties emerging in your life at this awesome, eclipse-bolstered peak of their cycle.


Blue Moon Astrology is free of ads and free to all. If you enjoy reading this blog, please consider making a  Gratitude Donation — very much appreciated! Thank you!

If you'd like notification when I post new essays: subscribe to my mailing list.


The street art shown at the beginning of this post is by Banksy, Untitled from his website.

Let It Be: John Lennon and Paul Mccartney, ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Book a Reading with Elaine!

Natal Chart

The increased awareness gleaned from a Natal Chart reading can help regain more power of choice and the necessary confidence to move past areas of life where we have been perennially stuck.


In many ways we learn the most about ourselves through important, intimate bonds. This reading will help you understand the interpersonal dynamics involved in one special relationship.

Year Ahead

Comprehensive session to closely examine the major cycles and trends for the year ahead. What are the potential challenges and opportunities? What areas of your life are most likely to be affected?