Last month's astrology featured an emphasis on the element of water. I suggested that the way to navigate these energies was to approach life from a place of surrender, yielding, and trust. The Grand Trine peaked in mid-July , but was in range all month (and is still in play for the first half of August). The second aspect pattern was the much-buzzed-about Grand Sextile,* wherein the three earth and the three water signs each hosted planets in their early degrees, forming a six-pointed star. The Grand Sextile formed on July 29th, and because it included the fast-moving Moon as one of its six points, it was only in play for that day. Jupiter played a role in both of those configurations, making some flowing aspects -- trines to Saturn and Neptune, and sextiles to the Moon and Venus. However, Jupiter has also been making "hard" aspects within the last week, and will continue to do so for the rest of August. Hard aspects -- conjunctions, oppositions, and squares -- tend to produce a feeling of urgency and intensity, in contrast to the more easygoing trines and sextiles. These hard aspects of Jupiter have been building even through the last part of July, and will be in play through the end of this month.
My own experience on July 29th, the day of the Grand Sextile, seemed to embody the combination of these planetary energies. That day, I came across a radio interview with some of the people involved in the cause against killer whales in captivity, and the newly-released movie Blackfish*. I was surprised at my response to the radio show; I immediately had to know everything about the movie. As an animal lover, I have always felt myself to be too "sensitive" to watch movies like this. For example, I have so far been unable to watch The Cove, as I thought it would upset me too much. However, this time I felt I could not look away. I knew that I would probably be very disturbed by the movie, even by the trailer. But I was compelled to face that fear. I thought, "I will probably cry, but maybe I need to go there rather than avoid it." I decided I should see where those strong feelings would take me.
Well, I did watch the trailer, along with several available clips of the movie. And I did cry. It was not for the reasons I might have predicted. I had imagined horrific images of whales being abused. But the worst single image for me (so far) was of a young whale being captured and ripped away from its pod – its biological family and friends – while he cried out in distress. He was then on his way to a small, barren tank, isolated from other whales after only knowing life with his family. He would be kept in captivity for the rest of his life.
While Cancerian themes can be very sweet and gentle, Jupiter's movement into more challenging aspects over the past week or so has shifted the tone. Jupiter is now engaging with the Uranus-Pluto square, turning up the volume on revolution, reform, breakdown, and transformation. Jupiter began to make its opposition to Pluto in the second half of July, and will continue to do so through the end of August. At the same time, Jupiter squares Uranus for the entire month as well. Mars in Cancer adds an undertone of confrontation to the mix. Keeping with the principle that Jupiter magnifies what it touches, we are likely to see a bolder expression of the archetypes of Uranus, Pluto, and Mars this month. Over the past few weeks, we've experienced a seeming increase in violence, accidents, and protest activity – all of which are potential expressions of these energies.
So, what can we do? Much of the writing out there about the Grand Sextile focused upon how to access the energies of flow in order to manifest more peace and harmony in our lives, and on the planet. I would say that it is more complex than that. With so many hard aspects happening at the same time as the Grand Sextile, there is a strong presence of the shadow underneath the potential sweetness and light available during this time. It is our confrontation with our fears, and with those things we might be most afraid to look at, that may propel us into action.
I made it my business over the next couple of days after watching the trailer of Blackfish to research the movie, its makers, and those involved in killer whale and dolphin captivity reform. I'm not sure yet where this is taking me, but I want to help in some way. I am now, at least, aware of the problem. For the moment, I can spread the word to others.
The themes of this movie reflect the astrology of this time. Killer whales are one of the most social animals on the planet, and they travel for extended periods with their family (Cancer). In fact, some young whales stay with there mothers for their entire life. The thing that had me crying most was a child being taken away from its mother.
Right now, you might feel a calling to fight for the protection of that which is worthy, not only within the smaller sphere of your personal life, but within the wider natural world. There is a call to action, as Mars will continue its conjunction to Jupiter and engagement with the Uranus-Pluto square through about August 10th. May August be a month where we allow ourselves to feel deeply, even when it scares us. Let these feelings guide us to the care and protection of what matters most.
*Blackfish comes out August 9th in the Portland area at Cinema 21.