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Summer Solstice, Sun enters Cancer

Coastline
Coastline
Catherine Al-Meten

Happy Summer Solstice all readers North of the Equator, and Happy Winter Solstice all South. Today in the North is the longest day of the year; the shortest in the South. The Sun has been up on my section of the world ince 5:23 A.M., and will not set officially until 9:03, although the sky stays light until nearly 10:00 P.M. PDT. The birds, the animals, including my cats, have been up busily exploring and starting their day’s hunts and chases, and we human folk have been energized and will exhaust ourselves, hopefully having a wonderful start to the Summer or Winter, wherever we are.

The Sun is at 0/13, just 13 minutes into Cancer already, having left the constellation of Gemini. The Moon is at 24/8 Aries, Mercury is at 27 degrees of Gemini in its retrograde phase until July 1. Venus is at 27 degrees of Taurus, Mars is at 1/57 Libra, Jupiter is at 24/35 Cancer, and Saturn is at 17/17 Scorpio, still retrograde as well. Uranus is in 16/8 Aries, Neptune is in Pisces at 7/33, and Pluto is at 12/36 Capricorn—the two latter still in retrograde motion. The North Node is in Libra at 26/24 and Chiron is at 17/35 Pisces, also retrograde. What may have seemed like a time when much energy has been generated but movement has been slowed down, hampered, or nearly non-existence in some areas of our lives, is because the energy has been affected by all the retrograde movement. The outer planets, those furthest away from the Sun, and the inner planets, those closest, move at different rates. When the outer planets are in retrograde, they travel in their orbits furthest from Earth. The inner planets retrograde cycles are of shorter durations as their orbits around the Sun are shorter.

As we celebrate one of the four great turning points of the year, the Summer Solstice finds the Sun in its northernmost position relative to the Earth as it hovers over the Tropic of Cancer. The Solstice occurs twice a year—at the start of Summer and the start of Winter. This year, the Summer Solstice occurs today, June 21, and the reverse is true in the South. The word solstice comes from the Latin roots, sol meaning Sun, and sistere meaning to stand. The Solstices occur when the Earth completes one of its two circuits around the Sun.

All cultures celebrate the return of Summer, in different ways. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have watched as the Sun’s path has slowly moved northward, coming into sight from behind the coastal mountains for the brief period it is visible rising over our northeast horizon in the mornings. It is the time of the year when we celebrate our festivals of the returning light—Midsummer Festivals (being celebrated by many, including the Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, and Swedish communities). The tribal communities and fishers celebrate the Return of the Salmon, and people gather in other general celebrations that include bonfires, grunion run parties (something we celebrated at full moons in the southern beaches of North America), and outdoor barbecues—all reminiscent of ancient fire and water celebrations to welcome summer.

In some cultures, including Russia, fire jumping celebrations mark the start of Summer. June 21 is St. John’s Day, a Christian celebration marking the Feast Day of St. John the Baptizer. The Scandinavian and Baltic countries celebrate Midsummer’s Eve and Day in a big way. In Romania, for example, Sanziene or Dragaica is celebrated by a dance of 5-7 girls, one girl dressed as a bride and the others dressed in white wearing veils of bedstraw flowers. The celebration grew out of the ancient custom of Sancta Diana and the marriage customs as well as customs of death. The celebration is symbolized by the fertility and circle of life customs that involve our ongoing desire and need to see ourselves as part of the cycle of life. Summer reminds us that we are alive and capable of loving and producing life.

The Sun in Cancer at its zenith, sits at 23/5 degrees. The transition from Gemini to Cancer took place as we on the West Coast, slept. We awoke in the opening hours of Summer, 2014. At about the same time, Chiron, the Wounded Healers, turned retrograde in Pisces. This moves Chiron back inside to give us time to reflect, regenerate, and renew ourselves on a deeper level than we might ordinarily be inclined at a Full Moon. Chiron, the Wounded Healer, in watery and mystical Pisces, stirs up our emotions and dredges up some of the turmoil and grief that may have been buried beneath the surface. It is a time when we can heal on a deep emotional level, and continues a long phase of slow, reformative healing that has been occurring through Neptune and Chiron’s transits of Pisces, and Saturn’s transit through Scorpio.

Now more than ever, we may be able to understand and act upon whatever has been keeping us from the full expression of love, forgiveness, and joy in our lives. If we listen, and let go of our need to control, predict, or live according to expectations and demands that have nothing to do with our true nature, we have the opportunity of growing, developing, creating, and transcending to a higher level of energy in all areas of our lives. Astrologer, Emily Trinkaus describes Chiron retrograde in Pisces as disturbing us where we “feel separate from the Source”, and this shows up in those unhealed places and untransformed behaviors including addictions, escapism, or simply by our unwillingness to face the truth of what is working in our lives, and what is not.

Rather than guessing and letting ourselves be ruled by unconscious desires, urges, and habits, spend some time exploring honestly, those areas in your life where you feel disconnected from meaning, purpose, or fulfillment. Chiron’s turn retrograde in Pisces, goes back over those places where you have been working out issues, wounds, losses, and grief leftover or continuing to keep you bound to what has already been removed from your life. If we keep playing the game according to someone else’s rule, and acting as if we were still engaged in a relationship that is no longer, we will continue to be caught in illusion. If we are still allowing ourselves to be controlled by someone else’s choices, actions, or ideas, instead of discerning what is right and good for us, we are trapped in a dead ends cycle. For all the areas that you have worked to heal in your life, notice the areas where you still can be caught off guard. Those are the areas that signal what needs tending to. No matter what our intentions or what our successes, if we are not making headway in some area of our lives, we can probably find a way that we are allowing some past hurt or wound to interfere with our growth.

To change this, we must first be honest with ourselves—willing to see what we have been trying to avoid or have been hiding from. Then we must make conscious efforts to change the way we both act and think—one without the other is a recipe for failure. Congruence is the key ingredient in real change. Notice the areas where you have really made headway, and see if you can determine what it was that was the key moment or the single most important awareness you needed to take the leap. Being congruent between what we say we believe and how we act is crucial to our health, happiness, and development. Trusting that we are not doing this alone, is the other piece of the puzzle. As long as it is “me against the world”, I’m a goner. There is more at play than my own choices, decisions, and viewpoints. What is crucial in your life, and what is the guiding force that helps you discern and learn to trust?

Saturn in Scorpio has been stirring up unconscious debris for months now, and retrograde Chiron in Pisces’ trine to retrograde Saturn in Scorpio is making this Summer Solstice and the rest of the month of June like one large baptismal fountain for our rebirth. When we combine the strengths and elemental power of both Pisces and Scorpio, we have a powerful tool for healing shadow elements of our being. Scorpio has knowledge of Mystery and constantly desire and seek power. Once committed, Scorpio is loyal and holds confidences. Scorpio reigns over trust and power, and so receiving the best of Scorpio’s qualities in this aspect can be helpful for long term healing and commitments. Pisces mystical understanding, compassion, and imagination combined with the emotional sensitivity and ability to empathize provide necessary ingredients for healing, when focused in on what needs healing within one’s self and one’s own relationships. Pisces, unlike Scorpio, needs to learn to take care of one’s own garden, whereas Scorpio is self protective and needs to learn to trust others more.

When we look to these two influences in whatever areas of our lives Chiron, Saturn, and Neptune are transiting, we can see how we can use the best qualities of both to help us find greater balance and harmonize emotional disturbances, and deep-seated injuries that still affect our behavior. Avoid being too hard on yourself, for self pity is not the answer. Empathy for one’s self is necessary, however if we are to make progress, grow, and heal. So Chiron the Wounded Healer asks us to pay attention to those areas within that we need to acknowledge, address, and tend to. Saturn, the Great Teacher in Scorpio, continues to work on us from the inside out. Now, however, the powerful trines in water signs, add to the reservoir of healing energy and cleansing waters. We more naturally allow ourselves to receive the messages we need through our intuitive knowledge, and through grace and blessings.

One key that may seem antithesis is slow down and stop trying. Yes, stop pushing yourself or others to be or not be a certain way. Allow yourself to simply be still, listen more, and hold quiet vigil in the space that is now created in your life. Instead of trying to fill things in or fix everything in order to meet unrealistic and unnecessary expectations and needs, let yourself rest in place. Get the sleep you need, and rest more. Adapt habits that allow for a moderate, and simple lifestyle. Summer in the Northern Hemisphere can be more relaxing than the other seasons, so take advantage of the seasonal changes to slow your pace, release the unnecessary or outworn, and avoid overdoing, overworking, or overindulging.

Another major influence at this Summer Solstice is the retrograde Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun providing a subtle if not emphatic reminder that what we release, frees us to be more ourselves. Think back to a time when you thought you would never escape an unhealthy, unhappy, or challenging situation. Recall what a difference there is between then and now. See if you can’t recall what might have changed or what it took for you to be able to release, let go, and move on. Did you set yourself up to be a victim of circumstance—couldn’t change until change was thrust upon you? Were you the ‘decider’—making change even thought you were not sure what the results would be? Did things change, evolve gradually, until one day, slowly but surely the situation ended, and you had moved on? What is slowing down in your life now? What has been released recently, and what is still hanging on? Where do you feel ‘latched onto’ or overwhelmed, and what might it take to step away, step back, let go, or simply turn around and walk the other way? Only you know the answer to these questions for yourself. Perhaps all is well right now, and you have what you want and need. In that case, find time to appreciate just that, and express gratitude for what is working. Keep the peace by feeding the soul and nurturing yourself and those around you in kind and loving ways. And enjoy the calm, the lull, the slowing down of the seasonal changes.

Much of this year has been full of activity, and some of the most recent aspects have been difficult, so enjoy this period of relative calm to regenerate for we know that nothing stays the same. We need the calming times to nourish, refresh, and find ourselves a place of inner peace. Now is the time. With the exception of the Mars-Uranus opposition coming up mid week, this is a time when we need to complete our tasks, take some time out to rest, and find ways to balance and nourish ourselves in the light of the Summer Solstice.

The Moon is in Aries, just past its conjunction with Uranus and just before its meeting with the South Node. The Aries Moon at this Summer Solstice is stirring things up for us emotionally. The Moon currently is at 25 degrees Aries, Uranus is at 8 (so the conjunction took place yesterday) and the South Node is at 26 degrees. The Moon and South Node are in conjunction as I write, signaling the call to take action in areas of life that need an emotional overhaul. As much of this column has emphasized, the need for emotional truth and adjustment is paramount in making any change or taking any course of action to improve or set forth on henceforth. Both the Moon and Uranus cause a great deal of high energy, frenetic actions and reactions, and the urge to purge and act on impulse. This is not great, but can signal those areas of your emotional life where you have suppressed too much or been under too much pressure to live ‘on alert’ for too long. Besides the fact that such a lifestyle is neither efficient nor effective, it also can be downright dangerous and can lead to extremes in behavior and high levels of stress.

When we think we are in control of the runaway horses of our life, we can pretty much count on the fact that we’re not. Pull back on those reins a bit, and slow down, even when the energetic impulses may seem too push you forward. You can breathe more deeply, take slower steps, stop acting and reacting, and practice more mindful ways of being right now. When Uranus, and later Mars are at work, and when the Moon is affecting our emotions and the tides of all watery beings and bodies, we can be sure that we need to be more open to riding with the current than riding against it. Not sure how else to warn you to not push yourself over the edge at this point or during the next week. To do so might lead to setting a crisis off before it is necessary, or finding yourself shipwrecked or tripping over your own energy and feet.

On top of the energy and aspects between Mercury, the Moon, and Uranus, we also have a square between the Moon and the South Node in Aries, and Jupiter in Cancer. This indicates that we may not feel that we can understand nor even identify how we really feel in a situation. Our feelings, nerves or stress levels may be so ramped up that we cannot seem to connect to our intuition or to envision a future without strife. What we can do when we hit this kind of wall, is to understand that spirituality and human healing is dependent upon trust and faith…and again, by recognizing that we are not in control of anything much. Even in our best times, our imagination, intuition, dreams, and intellect provide us with just a shadow of what is possible, and a hazy, vague view of what is inevitable. Now is the time to use some of your physical, mental, and spiritual practices to quell the inner storms, calm the mind, and allow yourself to release some of the burden of having to save the world, fix everything today, or head off disaster—none of which are probable or possible. I use these examples as a way to throw light on just how little we actually control results and conditions. Some form of faith in a Source beyond and more powerful than yourself, or trust in a somewhat orderly Universe, can be two ways to function, even if you do so with doubt and skepticism, at times like this. For those who have a strong faith life and are grounded in a religious or spiritual tradition, you will find ways to manage the struggles, doubt, fear, or upheaval that may seem to be looming. Most of what we fear, never happens, so what you might want to do if you feel out of sorts during some of these aspects, is simply rest on that one thought. Find positive ways to connect to something meaningful, and get out and help someone who is in need of some assistance. Get outside, get into the mood to celebrate the blessings that do exist, and join your energy, thoughts, and feelings to the Greater Good and dance with those who celebrate life.

The North Node in Libra, continues to call us to the path of change, especially in the way we understand our role in relationship, in creating peace, in creating beauty and in walking on the path of harmony. Again, Emily Trinkaus suggests asking yourself the question, “What brings you more into your heart?” and I cannot think of a more beautiful or pertinent way to describe the North Node, gateway experience as we try to form a new way of behaving, relating, and co-creating our world.

And finally, as if you have even glanced at a headline or heard a moment of a newscast, you know that Mars’ violent shadow side is active and alive in our world today, as it seems to feed on the trail of fire that has been wreaking havoc throughout the world for decades now. In the throes of a world that is changing on so many levels, Mars in Libra has been making a series of aspects with the Uranus-Pluto square. What has been making its appearance in our lives is Mars’ slower than normal and longer than normal transit through Libra where we feel the pressure, frustration, edginess, and anger characteristic of suppressed and unfulfilled desires, disillusionment, and lack of vision and hope. This continues on for several more months, and in the third decant of Libra, that which needs to go pushes to the top and emerges, perhaps through anger, outbursts, or a general sense of dissatisfaction. What we see when this happens, in the Collective, are some of what is flashing across the headlines in the shape of abuses of power and authority, violence and abuse, and power struggles and attempts to control others—all issues related to how we relate to one another, North Node in Libra, opening the doors and Mars in Libra, causing us to shape our attitudes, behavior, lives, and communities to reflect more harmonious ways of loving, creating, and sustaining our world. In times like these, the power and energy of Love are crucial for combating what seem to be overwhelming odds. Beginning where you are, within yourself, create peace, alleviate violence, release the need to control others, and practice more living, kind, and generous ways of behaving. There is more than enough to go around, if we choose to act according to the Universal principle of Love.

On this Summer Solstice, 2014, celebrate the bounty that is ours. Celebrate the gifts we have to heal, help, and grow to be more loving and kind. Celebrate the power we have to control our responses and to channel our energy in ways of beauty, love, and grace. Find ways to celebrate and in the process, heal yourself, the Earth, and the ways of human kind. Celebrations go a long way to help us heal, mend, and recover what we have lost in the past

Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, is a piece of music inspired by Summer Solstice and St. John’s Eve celebrations. A beautiful piece of music for Summer Solstice is Lisa Thiel’s Litha (Summer Solstice Song) illustrates some of the symbols and meaning of Summer Solstice. Fire and Water are the two elements that are the focus of Summer Solstice Celebrations. Build a bonfire or light a candle today. Spend some time on the water, go fishing, or dabble your feet in a stream. Walk along ocean’s shore, or dive deep into a cool mountain lake. Plant some seeds or plant a tree. Sing Om or Hallelujah! Dance and celebrate. Go outdoors and share a meal under the beautiful sunny sky. Take some time to listen to the birds singing, and watch as they fly overhead or fish in the river near you. Walk barefoot in the sand or grass, and take some time to let your hair down, put on your prettiest dress or shirt, and put some flowers in your hair. Celebrate life. Pack up a picnic, put a book in your bag, and head out with a blanket to rest on the ground for a relaxing day. Celebrate with fire dancers, or sing with friends around a campfire. Whatever you do today, celebrate the return of Summer, and the essence that is life-giving and life-sustaining. Without the Sun, we would not be. Remember, “We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden.” The Garden is within us, and is in how we live the lives we have been given.