Zodiac sign Cancer holds our need for nurturing, belonging and connection. This New Moon in Cancer explores how we embrace and struggle with those needs, especially on a transpersonal level. The upcoming Venus Retrograde in Leo is a time to reach for and receive love, beauty and creativity. And then there are the complications that turn our path inward and outward and beyond.
NEW MOON in CANCER
Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:
Jul. 17, 2023, 2:31 PM EDT
Jul. 17, 2023, 7:31 PM BST
Jul. 18, 2023, 4:31 AM AEST
It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Our Human Family
Normally a New Moon in Cancer would feature the Moon being in her own sign of Cancer as the star of the show. And lovely Luna is definitely a hidden treasure, since she is strong in her sign of rulership, but invisible to the eye since she's lost in the rays of the Sun. We are in the Dark of the Cancer Moon, and there is a faintly glowing aura of our unconscious rising from the psyche's Underworld. This includes feelings, sensitivity, insecurity and/or creativity.
Your urge to nurture others, especially those who may be hurting, scared or upset, could be quite strong. Yet, you might not even be aware of this, or perhaps unaware of why you feel that way. You might even be feeling those things yourself – a bit vulnerable, worried or stressed, and maybe secretly wishing that someone would wrap their arms around you and reassure you that everything will be okay.
When we're in Cancer mode, we may feel an increased need for safety, security and close connection, as well as the instinct to give those gifts to others. Cancer holds the part of us that needs to belong. It represents family, be it the family environment we grew up in or the people and communities we choose to be part of in adulthood.
The Moon is Out of Bounds by declination which is especially significant when it rules the sign that the New Moon is in: Cancer. When a planet is OOB, its energy becomes a bit maverick, drifting outside of the usual expression of its basic energy. When the Moon is OOB, it can be harder to feel satisfied with our usual ways of getting our needs met. For any number of reasons we may choose to step away from our customary support system. We might be yearning for something those people can't give us, or perhaps we just need to become more connected to our inner space for a while.
The OOB Moon in Cancer may also be a time when are especially sensitive to the unmet need for connection and belonging in others. And yet our empathy may be a bit confused, between our heightened awareness of the needs in others and our own need for extra space, it could be hard to know where and how to draw a healthy boundary.
In the New Moon chart, Pluto opposes the Sun and Moon. You might feel the need to empower yourself in the face of uncertainty, or guard against something scary that seems too certain for comfort. Be aware that, real concerns notwithstanding, part of what you're feeling may be from old issues that get triggered by the current situation. So, if it all feels more intense or overwhelming than usual, some of that could be your own unconscious vibrating like a tuning fork in response to what's going on in the here and now.
That said, Pluto is back in Capricorn again after sniffing the rarified Air in Aquarius earlier this year. As a result, the current Pluto'fied energy might be something left over from challenges you have faced in recent years. It doesn't necessarily mean it's something new that has walked back into your life like a zombie who just won't go away. It could be a situation where you need to tie up some loose ends, or take what you've learned and put it to use.
The Sun and Moon are also square Chiron, which also suggests that what you're experiencing may relate to old problems that are being stirred up from the past. Chiron is about struggles that don't have a neat, convenient solution, but leave their mark in a way that partly shapes who you become. So, it wouldn't be surprising if you feel like you're being haunted by old memories.
Therefore, this is a time when you may need to take extra care of yourself, to reassure yourself that you'll get through this okay. You got through it before (or you wouldn't be here reading this) and you can get through it again. Think of the ways you have endured, and the knowledge and awareness you have gathered. Remind yourself that you are a survivor.
The New Moon also has beneficial aspects – trine to Neptune and sextile to Uranus. Neptune encourages you to have some faith, both in your own strength and in the support of the universe. And Uranus reminds you that you just might be surprised by a more positive outcome than you expected. Uranus says, "Dare to try something different in how you face whatever is before you." And Neptune says, "You don't have to control every single thing. Do what you can, and work with the natural flow. If you try to 'push the river' you may wind up just creating more turbulence."
As I said above, normally the Cancer Moon would be at the top of the star-studded cast of this lunar drama, but Venus in Leo steals the spotlight. She's a very busy girl these days! Her biggest news is that she is about to go retrograde, from July 22 to September 3. She's already been in the retrograde shadow since June 19 and exits the shadow on October 7.
During Venus retrograde Venus' shadow side comes out. Rather than the loving, diplomatic, beauty-seeking ways she is typically known for, she can turn 180 degrees and become strangely war-like, demanding or hedonistic. Attempts to cultivate her lighter side of abundance, stability, affection, and social connection may hit turbulence, delays or complications.
Venus in retrograde mode it can also be a time of revisiting and revising previous agreements and arrangements. These may show fraying around the edges in areas of stress that need repair. And if a negotiation, alliance, relationship or contract has been falling out of harmony, Venus retrograde could be a make-it-or-break-it time when either change must be made or a decision about whether to continue at all.
That said, it's not uncommon to suddenly cross paths with someone from your past, or perhaps an urge to look up someone you haven't seen in a long time. It's a good time to review your finances, reevaluate your budget, and reassess whether your resources are sufficient for what you need.
With Venus retrograde in Leo, this is also a time to check in with your self-image. How do you see yourself? Have you been overly hard on yourself lately, and if so, why? Perhaps you need to make some changes so that you're living up to your best self, or maybe circumstances are pressuring you to live up to someone else's idea of who you are at your best. We all need applause and approval from others – that's just human – but sometimes it's good to question whether that acknowledgement comes at too high a cost to your personal integrity.
In the New Moon chart, Venus is opposite Saturn in Pisces. However, they don't become exact yet since Venus turns retrograde before she gets to the opposing sign and degree. The closest she gets is within about 7½ degrees on July 24, two days after beginning her retrospective journey. They do finally reach exact opposite on October 10, just days after she leaves the retrograde shadow and enters Virgo.
For now, she's getting a preview of her marching orders from Saturn and has just over 2 months to get her resources in order. To meet Saturn's challenge, we'll need a renewed and refreshed sense of self and self-worth, which is what Venus in Leo can help with.
You see the stars are moving so slowly
But still the earth is moving so fast
Can't you see the moon is so lonely
She's still trapped in the pain of the past...
Send your love into the future
Send your love into the distant dawn
~ Sting, Send Your Love
There's a complex Yod aspect pattern happening during July and August, and again in October. It starts with Neptune sextile Pluto. (A transit very noteworthy in its own right, since it remains in and out of orb for 100 years! But that's another article for another time.) Right now the Neptune-Pluto sextile has a decreasing orb of 1:37 (and will reach exact again from 2026 to 2032).
A Yod is formed by Mars, Venus, Mercury and the Sun who take turns in the apex position, at the pointy end that is the focus of the Yod energy. (See the table below.) Each of these cross the midpoint between Neptune and Pluto, and form quincunx aspects (150°) to both within a few days before and after the midpoint. All told, this is a 5-step process that unfolds over 4 months from the beginning of July to early October.
First is Mars, who formed the Yod in the first half of July, reaching closest during July 6-9.
Second is Venus, who stations retrograde on July 22 within a degree of quincunxing Neptune and Pluto. Venus is in orb from July 7/11 until August 3/6.
Third is Mercury, who passes through the Yod from July 25-30.
Fourth is the Sun at the apex of the Yod from August 17-24.
Fifth is Venus again. After stationing direct on September 3, Venus comes back and forms the final Yod approximately from September 30 to October 9.
What does it all mean?
It starts with the Neptune-Pluto sextile, which combines their energies in an easy-going way. There's an opportunity to bring two different ideas or experiences together through a creative process. This is the waxing sextile in the Neptune-Pluto cycle that began with the conjunction in 1891-92, on the eve of the 20th century. Neptune leans toward idealism, grand vision, and universal harmony.
Pluto pushes for transformation, empowerment and deep authenticity, shining a light into the human shadow where we hide desires and drives that we haven't acknowledged or integrated. Neptune and Pluto create a very combination of energies that tends to play out on a collective level, and not easily visible in our individual consciousness.
At their best, these planets can clear our path so we can move forward in a more honest and genuine direction. This combines the universal oneness and higher motives of Neptune with the deep honesty and authenticity of Pluto. On the other hand, the stuff that needs clearing out from our path can get quite ugly and hard to acknowledge. Looking at who we are without the pretty fluff of illusion, rationalization and projection buffering our self-awareness isn't an easy task. It's a process, not an event.
The apex planet of the Yod is a focal point or projection point for the sextile energy, but because it's connected through awkward quincunx aspects, it can be hard to manage its effects. So, Mars at the apex might reveal how much the collective is drawn to violence, force and domination in order to change the world to follow a particular ideal or vision of what we "should" be. However, Mars could also urge us to cultivate strength of spirit that can empower us to live by our own vision of the best that we can be.
Mercury at the apex may show us how communication, ideas and what we focus on can direct our thinking and understanding. Words matter. Subtext, tone of voice, and body language matter. How we mentally frame our experience matters because it guides us to perceive that experience in a certain way, from which we may draw certain conclusions, value judgments and expectations. It's a time to pay attention to what you notice about these things.
The Sun at the apex can illuminate who we believe we are and what we aspire to be, both collectively and individually. Do we shine a light of awareness into our dark corners so we can see what we're really made of in those shadows, or are we using those shadows to hide what we don't want to see?
Venus at the apex is more complicated because of her retrograde. Venus stations at the apex (at 1° and ½° orb) and spends virtually a whole month there – from July 7 to August 6, she is within a 3° orb to quincunx Neptune or/and Pluto.
The deep passion of Pluto collaborating with Neptune's mystical flow. In order to reach Leo Venus' creative expression of love, they must twist themselves in a way that may seem to lose the whole point of what Pluto and Neptune contribute. But if it's done right, the result can be pure magic, divinely inspired, and something that can raise your consciousness to a place that defies words: pure experience.
This gives Venus a formidable challenge – to take the best of her lifesize energy and project it out into a larger-than-life context. It's kind of like trying to be in two places at the same time. You can't just say "I love you" – you need to say it with the expanse of universal love in mind. The trick is that if you're not in touch with the sublime universe, your effort could get short-circuited and wind up more like idolatry or fantasy – giving your power away to someone else instead of embracing it within yourself.
Set against the backdrop of the New Moon cycle that starts in caring Cancer, this can challenge us to take our everyday liking, loving, affection, support and connection, and envision it within a broader context. This is the "do unto others" principle that's embraced within ourselves, as well as how we respond to the world around us.
It's not just about wanting the best for those we care about, but directing our empathy, sympathy and kindness toward strangers we might normally ignore as not relevant to our lives. Or toward problematic situations that we might ordinarily dismiss as "not my problem." In its most vast perspective, you might even try on the idea of projecting the best of your love, empathy and acceptance toward the whole of humanity and life itself.
That's the greater challenge.
Table below shows the dates when the Yod is formed by Mercury, Venus, Mars and Sun.
|PLANET||ENTERS 3° ORB||EXACT||MIDPOINT||LEAVES ORB||OTHER|
|MARS||Jul 1-4||Jul 6-9||Jul 7||Jul 11-14|
|VENUS #1||Jul 7-11||Jul 15-30||Jul 19||Aug 3-6||SR July 22|
|VENUS SR||Jul 22|
|MERCURY||Jul 25-26||Jul 26-28||Jul 27||Jul 29-30|
|SUN||Aug 17-18||Aug 20-21||Aug 20||Aug 23-24|
|VENUS Final||Sep 30 to
|Oct 3-6||Oct 5||Oct 7-9||SD Sep 3|
Note that the dates are given as a time range (except to the midpoint). This is because the Neptune-Pluto sextile is still a couple of degrees from exact, so aspects to them happen a few days apart.
A Tapestry of Parallels
While these complex Yods are doing their thing, the planets at the apex are also weaving back and forth amongst themselves by declination. These parallels connect the dots of the different Yods, showing them to actually be part of a single greater evolving energy.
At the Cancer New Moon, Venus and Mars are parallel with each other as well as with the North Node and Chiron. It's a kind of Rolling Parallel configuration where each is parallel to at least one of the others but not all of them. And Saturn is tightly contraparallel to Mars (same distance from the equator by declination, but on opposite sides of the equator) as well as being opposite by aspect. It's not uncommon for contraparallel planets to also be opposite, but they don't have to be. The Mars-Saturn combination contributes a force of great effort being required in order to accomplish what is indicated in the rest of the chart.
The Venus-Mars parallel is especially significant in the New Moon chart. They travel side-by-side by declination for 6 weeks, from June 26 to August 6 (see the graph below the table). Overlapping with the parallel, they are also within orb of conjunction from June 8 to July 21, which is discussed in detail in the New Moon in Gemini article. So during these timespans we are called on to combine the love, desire, affection and beauty of Venus with the force, assertiveness, empowerment and action of Mars.
Mercury is parallel Venus from August 3-7. At the Cancer New Moon, Mercury is parallel Uranus, which indicates a potential for brilliance, insight and surprising observations in what we perceive and communicate.
Mercury parallel Mars is more complicated because Mercury goes through another retrograde cycle in August and September. As a result, Mercury's declination wobbles back and forth as well as its longitude. To make it even more interesting, Mercury crosses back and forth over the equator (0° declination), and also weaves back and forth over Mars' line of declination travel. (Again, see the graph for a visual explanation.)
I'll be talking more about the Mercury-Mars dance in the coming months, but for now the thing to realize is that in August and September we will be challenged to fine-tune how we communicate and utilize our power, emotions and willpower. And this process already began as both planets crossed the apex point of the Yods with Neptune and Pluto during July.
So, whatever you've been experiencing with the Yod energy this month, consider it an introduction and preparation for the next couple of months. For now, you are gathering conceptual resources that you'll be putting into practice in the coming weeks and months.
Table showing parallels of Mercury, Venus and Mars from late June to early October 2023.
|Venus // Mars||June 26||July 4|
|Venus // Mars||August 1||August 6|
|Mercury enters Shadow||August 3|
|Mercury // Venus||August 3||August 5||August 7|
|Mercury // Mars||August 4||August 7||August 11|
|Mercury 0° > South||August 20|
|Mercury SR||August 23|
|Mercury # Mars||August 23||August 27|
|Mars 0° > South||August 29|
|Mercury // Mars||August 30|
|Mercury 0° > North||August 30|
|Mercury # Mars||September 2||September 6|
|Mercury SD||September 15|
|Mercury leaves Shadow||September 30|
|Mercury 0° > South||October 7|
Symbols: // parallel • # contraparallel • > direction
Declination graph showing parallels of Mercury, Venus and Mars.
Sabian Symbol for Cancer 25: A dark shadow or mantle thrown suddenly over the right shoulder. OR A will-ful man is overshadowed by a descent of superior power. OR A leader of men wrapped in an invisible cloak of power.
There is quite a variety of wording for Cancer 25. Above is 1) the original wording by Marc Edmund Jones and Elsie Wheeler, 2) Dane Rudhyar (An Astrological Mandala), and 3) Lynda Hill (The Sabian Oracle: 360 Degrees of Wisdom).
The thread running through the different phrases of this Symbol have in common the idea of governance or authority being bestowed by a higher power of some sort. Cancer is not usually associated with these concepts, although its opposite sign, Capricorn, is. If Cancer is our experience of childhood and the beginning of a growth cycle, then Capricorn is the fruition of that. Having reached a certain level of maturity, the young effort is granted the recognition of authority and capability.
As a result, this symbol might be interpreted as the acknowledgement of achievement in the process of development or "growing up." The student becomes the teacher, the child becomes an adult, the beginnings of a growth process reaches the point where it has cultivated a self-sustaining flow of development. The child's bicycle can lose its training wheels.
The questions to ask yourself are: What have I been working on (internally or externally) that has now reached the point where I no longer need the same level of support or assistance? What kind of acknowledgement (external recognition or internal awareness) have I received that shows I'm doing better than I had been? And if I thought I would be at that point by now but feel I'm not quite there yet, why not? Do I need to make more progress or am I reluctant to admit I am doing better than I think?
Cancer is about nurturing, protecting and developing. Whether it's a child, a project, a learning curve, or a personal growth process, the Cancer part of you is the force that seeks to give something or someone the best fighting chance to survive and thrive.
The Cancer New Moon initiates a 4-week cycle that follows the theme of fostering something through growth. Transpersonal Neptune trines the Sun and Moon, and Uranus is sextile, which encourages us to care about others in the purest way possible. This isn't about ego or entering the Mother-of-the-Year contest, but about being openhearted and benevolent, and being willing to see the best in others.
On the other hand, Pluto opposes the Sun and Moon, which poses a difficult question: how do you care with an open heart when the worst seems to rise to the surface so easily in some people? How do you want the best for someone who has done wrong in some way to you or someone else? But even Neptune wouldn't say it's that easy or straightforward. Giving a damn about others can get quite complicated.
In addition, Chiron is square the New Moon, and Chiron is no stranger to complexity. Being in a stressful relationship with the Cancer Sun and Moon, the message could be that when someone is at their worst, it ultimately comes from a place of woundedness or perhaps ignorance.
Chiron in Aries reminds us that it takes courage to look beyond what seems obvious, enough to see that there's more to the story. And that takes time, patience, and the willingness to keep going. The same goes for ourselves; we can't just snap our fingers and change – presto chango! It's a long-term process that takes dedication, passion, love, tenacity, hope, and acceptance of the fact that all of us are a work in progress.
The upcoming Venus retrograde (July 22 to September 3) dominates this lunar cycle and beyond. Against the backdrop of the Cancer New Moon, this Venus retrograde in Leo is also about the ability to bring out a sense of well-being in others, as well as in ourselves. This is done through empathy, caring, and being willing to see the good in others. Every one of us, regardless of what we have done or the choices we've made, is human. We're complicated critters. We're capable of profound good and devastating bad, and every inch in between.
Just in case you thought that this lunar cycle was simple, straightforward and easy, there are a series of Yod aspect patterns happening in July and August, and returning again in October. Yods are a weird and wonderful configuration consisting of two planets in a creative, cooperative relationship, and a third planet at the apex of the triangle that confuses and complicates the whole dynamic.
Several faster-moving planets pass through the apex point between Neptune and Pluto which are in a very long sextile aspect. Four planets take turns playing the Apex role, starting with Mars (first half of July), then Venus (who stations retrograde at the apex from early July to early August), then Mercury (for a few days in late July), then the Sun (mid to late August), and finally Venus comes back again in October for her final performance.
While Mercury, Venus and Mars are doing the Yod dance in July and August, they also take turns being parallel by declination. This strengthens the energy they bring to the Yods and ties them together as a months-long, unfolding process.
These Yods invite us to take our everyday lives, feelings, urges, needs and desires, and channel them through Something Greater Than Ourselves. It's not enough to simply love or care or belong or act or think – we are encouraged to take into account the fact that we do this within a greater potential of who we are and can be, individually and collectively.
Remember always that you are a Child of the Universe, no matter what you see that Universe as being. A living medium that might be called God or Gods. A mysterious All That Is that defies definitive explanation. A magnificent, breathtaking system held together by the laws of physics. No matter the definition, you are here, you belong, you are unique, and you are made of stardust.
The next update will be for the Full Moon in Aquarius on 1 August, 2023. In the meantime, stay safe. Stay sane. Stay awesome. The Universe needs you. ❤️
You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.
~ Carl Sagan, Contact
© 2023-07-16 Wendy Guy, all rights reserved. Astrological diagrams by Wendy Guy. Divider of Integration digital collage by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay.com. Sabian symbol statue of Julius Caesar statue by Nicolas Coustou, photo by Skitterphoto via Pixabay.com.