More on today’s Cosmic Alignment

This particular configuration starts with the Jupiter-Saturn-Neptune Grand Trine (see Jun.01-Aug.12). Mars is thrown in for good measure, still being within orb to conjoin Jupiter. Then a second Grand Trine forms with Moon, Venus and Pluto. This pattern also consists of 3 pairs of oppositions, as well as 2 interlocking Grand Trines. In this case, the oppositions are: Jupiter-Pluto, Venus-Uranus and Moon-Saturn.

The Moon moves into position on July 29, plus or minus a day (depending on where you are). At that time, all 6 planets are distributed throughout the Water and Earth signs at roughly 60-degree intervals around the zodiac, and voilà! A Grand Sextile!


To get that many planets to line up like that and keep them all within a reasonable orb is no small feat! At its peak, these planets are within just less than 5 degrees at their widest orb. Since one of the points is the very fast moving Moon, it only lasts for about a day. It reaches its closest point at around Noon EDT. (Note: add 5 hours for GMT; add 14 hours for AEST. The box above shows, in 3 time zones, when the Moon completes the aspect pattern within a 6° orb.)

Venus forms the 5th point of the 6-pointed Grand Sextile from July 22-31, beginning the transformation of the Jupiter-Saturn-Neptune Grand Trine. The Moon is the last one to the party and the first to leave, starting her first aspect in the configuration (sextile to Neptune) at around 9:30pm July 28th, EDT, and finishing her last aspect (sextile to Mars) at around 11:30am July 30th, EDT.

Grand Sextiles, although rare, do happen occasionally. There were 14 of them in the 20th century, although only 8 in the 21st century. The last one was in 2003 and the next will be in 2025. They typically include several fast moving planets that quickly move out of orb, so holding the entire 6-pointed pattern together beyond a couple of days is extremely rare. The last time we had one that lasted more than 48 hours was 1594, and the next one isn’t until 2298!

So: what does it all mean? Sextiles (60°) are all about creative cooperation. They join signs that share the same polarity (Yang/Masculine/Positive versus Yin/Feminine/Negative) and therefore have compatible elements (Earth and Water or Fire and Air). Like all sextile aspects, bringing out the potential requires a bit of effort to combine the harmonious energies together – kind of like bringing apples and oranges together to make a fruit salad or a fruit punch. So right now there is greater than usual ability to discover and create increased potential with what you already have in your life (or have access to). It’s easier to find ways to combine things so that they become greater than the sum of their parts.

Here’s the thing: like all aspects, the sextile has its less-than-stellar side too. Manipulation or even trickery could be included in the sextile’s potential. When you have a talent for mixing similar but separate energies, you have some control over which way the result emerges. On one hand that can be a good thing, but it also means you could slant the outcome in a way that is laden with your own bias or hidden agendas. Is that good or bad? Yes. Maybe. Since creativity means you have the ability to come up with something completely new, who’s to say if what you create is good or bad, or is made of integrity or biased distortion? The sextile can easily become an exercise in self-justification and spin-doctoring.

With a Grand Sextile, you have all the beneficial and all the questionable potential of the sextile—times 6! Like all things in astrology, what is projected outward onto the manifest world tends to vary according to the wattage of the light shining through the chart. The Grand Sextile grants you amplified ability to be creative, inventive, innovative and perhaps visionary.

So how will you use it? What obstructions in your life could benefit from some creative problem-solving? How could you set your mind free to see the potential beyond the barriers that hold you back? By the same token, you might do well to ask yourself if there might be a hidden advantage to being held back. As strange as that might sound, we sometimes stay where we are because we fear that changes could bring a disadvantage that we don’t want.

For example, say you are frustrated from being in a low-paying job. Although that’s a disadvantage, perhaps it has low expectations and is therefore relatively low-stress, which is a priority for you. The Grand Sextile energy could be used to improve your financial situation in some way other than finding a higher paying, and therefore more demanding, job. Maybe overtime pay at your current job is an option, or you might find ways to reduce your expenses, or you might hold a garage sale that will both clear out a lot of old stuff you don’t need and bring in some extra cash you didn’t think you had.

Perhaps you need money to buy something, and you realize you can get what you need in another form without having to spend as much money. An example might be that you want to hire someone to do housework once every couple of weeks, but you come across someone who will do it as a trade for something you can provide to them on a regular basis. Or you might hire someone who can help you reorganize so that the housework itself is made much easier.

Do you see how this can work? It’s about flexibility that can bring together seemingly separate or disconnected resources that create a whole new solution, or even a range of possible solutions. Just be careful that the one you pick is above board and doesn’t create as many problems as it solves.

Jul.22 – Mars conjunct Jupiter (05:54 of Cancer)
“When the Moon is in the 7th House and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace with guide the planets and love will steer the stars!” This quote from the song “Age of Aquarius” from the musical Hair describes this transit. When the aggression, drive, courage and desire of Mars are combined with Jupiter’s love of justice, mercy and higher purpose, we can get the best of both worlds. On the other hand, we can also get the worst of both worlds; for example, self-righteousness or over-zealousness. This transit sparks a new beginning in our use of these energies, which unfolds over the next 2 years or so. The questions to ask yourself at its initiation, now, are: Will you use your energy to seek greater understanding, or to jump to conclusions? Will your courage be used to fight for justice or to blame? Will your passion and drive be used to advance a higher purpose or to inflict angry destruction in the name of judgment? The reality will probably lie somewhere in between, but awareness of which extreme you are drifting toward will allow you to make choices about whether you want to correct your course or go with the flow.

What’s interesting about this conjunction is the difference in the dignities of each planet. Jupiter is exalted in Cancer, meaning that Cancer brings out the best in Jupiter and Jupiter brings its best to Cancer. Jupiter’s generosity of spirit softens Cancer’s tendency to clutch onto what it has, be it someone’s attention or their money. And Cancer’s nature of feelings and personal connection mellows Jupiter’s passion for theory and chasing off to next horizon.

On the other hand, Mars is in fall (opposite its sign of exaltation: Capricorn). Mars struggles in Cancer. Whereas Mars is naturally independent and self-sufficient, Cancer is all about feeling one’s connection with others and being interdependent. Mars prefers to be forthright, assertive, even aggressive, but Cancer is sensitive, empathic and nurturing, which is not easy to do when you’re being forceful and direct.

The result could be passion and drive that is either more sensitive to the effect on others or directed toward defending and honouring Cancer values: family, feelings, creativity and having a feeling connection with others. Mars energy (anger, aggression, drive) may work better if it allows Jupiter’s vision and optimism to lead the way.

Jul.22-Sep.15 – T-square aspect pattern (Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto) (This is a Cardinal Cross configuration. Cardinal T-square 2013 article)
Cardinal Cross – T-square aspect pattern

When is it in effect?
July 22 to
September 15, 2013

When is it closest?
With Mars:
July 27 to 31, 2013

With Jupiter:
August 7 to 21, 2013

While you’re basking in the glow of the Grand Sextile, Jupiter and Mars conveniently provide some good old fashioned stress and motivation to balance yourself out with. When Mars conjoins Jupiter (Jul.22), they pick a fight with Uranus and Pluto in a T-square aspect pattern that persists long after Mars has waved goodbye and eased on down the road. Mars is part of the T-square from Jul.22 to Aug.08. However, Jupiter stays behind until Sep.15, and then returns next year for a final round from January through May (when Mars completes a Grand Cross with them…but we’re getting ahead of ourselves).

For Mars, the T-square is closest from July 27 to 31, from when Mars opposes Pluto (9°) until it squares Uranus (12°).

For Jupiter, the T-square is closest from August 7 to 21, from when Jupiter opposes Pluto (9°) until it squares Uranus (12°).

Uranus square Pluto has been discussed, analyzed and endured since they around 2008, with the first of seven exact passes happening in June 2012. You only have to check out the news to see the social, political, moral and planetary upheaval that is happening. At best, this is a crossroads where deep rooted change will result from breaking free of limiting attitudes and policies. At worst, this is a crossroads where deep rooted change will result from breaking free of limiting attitudes and policies.

Jupiter moving in to square Uranus and oppose Pluto gives the gruesome twosome another energy to polarize with, react to and do battle with. This is actually a new phase of the Cardinal Grand Cross and T-squares that came together 3 years ago (2010-2011). At that time Jupiter conjoined Uranus and squared Pluto; now Jupiter moves to the next corner of the Cardinal Square.

At the time of the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction, these energies urged freedom, expansion and release of pent-up urges and ideas, both personally and globally. Now they are in the waxing square (meaning they are growing more distant from each other and will eventually oppose each other). This is a crossroads when we all must decide what to do with the direction we began at that time. Do we stay the course? Do we adjust our direction? Do we decide to do something different with the energy that has awakened since 2010?

With Jupiter and Uranus now adversaries instead of allies, some of the former promise of freedom and liberation may be looking a bit complicated or tarnished, as the reality of the implications starts to set in. Pluto in realistic Capricorn is only too happy to remind Jupiter that it is essential to act with the long-term goal in mind – otherwise it’s all too easy to get tangled up in having to adjust and readjust, which is a waste of energy and resources. On the other hand, Pluto’s promise of stability and durability can easily start to feel like a jail sentence to visionary Jupiter, so Pluto’s solution won’t work entirely either.

Uranus in Aries is still madly waving placards and chanting “All for one and one for all…as long as I get to be the ONE!” This resonates with Mars who is the ruler of Aries and currently in Cancer. Mars feels Cancer’s pain at the thought of having all tradition and connection to the past uprooted and destroyed, and disagrees with Uranus’ overkill approach to change.

Mars and Jupiter are feeling attacked and stuck in the middle of a fight that wasn’t theirs to begin with but is definitely affecting them. They vow to wage a righteous war to defend what’s good about the past in the name of strengthening the spirit of family – both an individual’s need to belong within a family and a more global common ground within the Family of Humankind.

The upshot is that the turmoil around us could become more complicated, as secondary reactions, implications and consequences start to emerge. On a personal level, you are challenged to explore ideas about the kind of nest you want to build in your life that will support and sustain the broader changes, ambitions and transformations you are going through. On a collective level, we may see more emphasis on finding and strengthening the bond of what we all share, especially the factions that are at odds with each other.

What could further complicate this is that one way to find common ground and alliance is through a shared enemy, so what starts as an attempt to unite and bind together could instead result in further polarization. Awareness, as always, is the key to finding the path that works best for you.

Jul.26 – Venus opposite Neptune (04:46 of Virgo/Pisces)
Romance, idealism, fantasy and imagination are blossoming into a bright aura right now, which is likely to influence your relationships, interactions, finances and values – for better or for worse! Compassion, caring and selfless giving can be good ideals to aim for, as long as you remember that ideals tend to lose some of their shiny glow when they’re translated into hard reality. If you forget this, the end result may be disappointing or disillusioning. Disappointment may also indicate that there have been hidden hopes or high expectations that no one can really live up to. Aim to balance your innocence and longing with the judgement of your older, wiser, mature self; and do a reality check with a trusted friend or adviser if in doubt. That said, this can also be a very creative and inspiring time – just remember to keep one foot on the ground.

Jul.26 – Venus sextile Saturn (05:05 of Virgo/Scorpio) (Jul.27 in AU)
It is possible to find some stability in your relationships and finances under this transit, especially if you are willing to negotiate fairly and realistically. You have increased ability to be disciplined about spending and budgeting, and to invest in hard work to maximise your earnings. Your ability to grasp the solid, realistic facts will help you choose wisely in your investments of both money and your interaction with others. Commitment and structure may be easier to approach and achieve than if you take risks now. Your self-worth can benefit from this transit because you may be less inclined to give in to mood swings. On the other hand, if you are prone to depression, you might want to be careful you don’t become so grounded and stable that you lose touch with your sense of hope and potential. It is a good time to make concrete progress in matters involving beauty, love, harmony and balance. Keep your pleasures simple and humble for maximum benefit.

Jul.27 – Mars opposite Pluto (09:39 of Cancer/Capricorn) (Jul.28 in AU) (This is a Cardinal Cross aspect.)
Mars and Pluto doing battle in the skies can create a very intense showdown! This is a time when tempers can flare, power struggles can emerge, and aggressive action could seem like the only way to handle a conflict. If you feel yourself becoming entangled in a mounting tension with someone, you might do well to back off a bit to let the adrenaline subside on both sides. On the other hand, it is a time when we are often challenged to assert ourselves and strengthen our spirit, which can often be brought on by confrontation. This is the kind of atmosphere where our interactions with others can bring out deeply hidden and intense feelings inside us, which long to be expressed but are usually suppressed instead. This is an opportunity to observe what gets triggered inside of us and what kind of interaction triggers those feelings. It can be valuable to use the experience as a way to vent old frustration, work through unresolved anger, and ultimately heal our deeper wounds by letting go of whatever holds us back. Sexual energy can run very high under this transit, so handle it wisely.

Jul.27 – Sun square Saturn (05:08 of Leo/Scorpio) (Jul.28 in UK, AU)
It is necessary for you to come to grips with limitations, boundaries or expectations. If you have been avoiding some task or obligation, this transit might bring consequences from that avoidance or a warning of consequences to come. You might also encounter a situation that requires you to accept unwanted responsibility or restricts your freedom in some way. You might be faced with some part of your life being pruned back, either to rein in something that is out of control or to make room for new growth. This is likely to be more or less stressful depending on how comfortable you are dealing with responsibility, authority, limits and hard work. If you have a hard time with authority issues, you might find yourself in conflict with someone in authority under this transit – perhaps in part because your buttons are getting pushed. On the other hand, this could also be a time when you are challenged to take action or make a decision that involves taking on more responsibility. It is also a time when you may have to find better ways to deal with personal boundaries – accepting others’ or learning to assert your own. You’re bumping up against reality, so try to work constructively with it, not hurl yourself against it.

Jul.28 – Venus sextile Jupiter (07:15 of Virgo/Cancer)
There is an abundance of creative inspiration, material enjoyment, feel-good pleasure in the air! Your luck and opportunity to attract money, love, resources and self-esteem are high right now. It may be relatively easy to attract the people, possessions and opportunities you want or need, but you’ll still have to work to get them. On the other hand, your eyes may be bigger than your stomach (as mother would say) and you might be tempted to charm, flirt or bluff your way through a situation more than usual. There may also be a tendency to self-indulgence. These are not necessarily bad things, but it’s probably wise to remember to use this energy to enhance your best judgement, not override it.

Jul.30 – Venus trine Pluto (09:36 of Virgo/Capricorn)
Close one-on-one connections with people (close friends, lovers, partners of all kinds) will tend to gravitate to a deeper, more intense level now. Instead of automatically doing the diplomatic, “nice” thing, you may find it is more fulfilling to share more of your authentic feelings. It may be possible now to connect with people on a deeper level, while still ensuring that your interests are equally balanced with theirs. The trick is to do this without trying to control or overpower the other person, and it may be easier to avoid those traps now. You could make some deeply intimate connections with people under this transit. Financial dealings with other people may also go smoothly, although it might be wise to get clear confirmation that you’re both on the same page about the fine print.

Jul.31 – Mars square Uranus (12:26 of Cancer/Aries) (Aug.01 in ADT and UK, AU) (This is a Cardinal Cross aspect.)
Erratic action and unpredictable impulses can surface under this transit. Active energy is more available now, but it can be very hard to control its direction, speed, intensity or predictability. Under this volatile atmosphere, unconscious or suppressed emotions (like anger, frustration, fear or desire) can jump out when you least expect them. Being accident prone is not uncommon. This can be great if you’re trying to release inhibitions, find courage to sprint forward or break out of an old habit. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that your actions won’t turn out to be destructive, counter-productive or too much of a good thing. You might be tempted to take greater risks than is wise, but this risk-taking impulse can also break you out of a rut too. It’s important to use your best judgment when faced with this kind of potent yet volatile energy.

Aug.01 – Mars trine Chiron (12:53 of Cancer/Pisces) (Aug.02 in AU)
The healing of assertive energy and willpower mark this transit. It is bound to be easier to get past any inhibition you might normally feel about being assertive, expressing frustration and anger, and putting things into action. Perhaps you are able to reconcile some internal guilt or fear that has held you back in the past. Or, maybe you are finally able to reach a state of acceptance or resolution that allows you to move beyond a conflict or struggle that has been keeping you stuck. Applying your willpower to problems has a better chance of succeeding now because you’re likely to be more attuned to the path that leads to peace rather than more conflict. It’s possible you might choose to use this energy in the defence of another person, a cause or something else you feel passionately about. It’s possible to focus your energy, intent, motives and actions in ways that are healing, healthy, balanced and constructive.

Aug.02 – Venus opposite Chiron (12:52 of Virgo/Pisces)
You may be extra sensitive to other people’s suffering, struggles or dilemmas under this transit. Your own ongoing issues in relationships or finances may undergo a kind of “healing crisis” in which you endure increased problems and must use extra tolerance, compromise or negotiation to keep things from collapsing into a worse state. At the same time, you may be able to reach a new level of acceptance and peace – not necessarily by solving the problems, but by letting go of the struggles that are not as important as you thought and by making the best of the ones that are left. Other people or outside circumstances may give you a push in this direction, which might feel at first like old wounds are being opened up. But this is an opportunity to find new ways to bring healing and balance to old problems, especially using tolerance, compromise and acceptance.

Aug.02 – Venus sextile Mars (13:34 of Virgo/Cancer) (Aug.03 in AU)
It is possible now to take a balanced approach to conflict, problems and projects that require effort. This can combine both a gentle touch and firm action; sensitivity and forcefulness. Negotiation and interaction with others could be aggressive and determined now, but also balanced with sensitivity and style. Any expressions of anger, frustration or discontent are more likely to be tempered with fairness, moderation and composure. You’ll have to apply some effort to get these opposite energies working in sync together, but the potential and opportunity are there more-so than usual now.

Aug.03 – Mercury leaves Retrograde Shadow (23:06 of Cancer) (Aug.04 in UK, AU) (“What’s the Shadow?” Read my articles about Retrograde Cycles. Read my article about Mercury Retrograde.)
Mercury finally leaves the shadow—the part of the zodiac where it was retrograde. This means the confusion, delays and miscommunications of the last 2 months have mostly dissipated and things should be more or less back to normal (whatever that is). The difference is that you now have the benefit of seeing things from a different perspective after having reconsidered, rethought and rehashed information and perceptions over the past 2 months. This gives you more choices than you had before. In fact, you may find that although you thought something was a good idea a month or two ago, you now realize that a different approach, decision or way of understanding it is better. If you’ve been waiting until Mercury finished with the retrograde cycle before you made a final decision about something or taking action on something, this is the time to take another look at whatever that is. Just don’t forget your common sense, and remember that Mercury is only one factor to take into consideration regarding the timing of a decision. Use your best judgment and wisdom.

Aug.04 – Sun trine Uranus (12:23 of Leo/Aries) (Aug.05 in AU)
You are more open than usual to spontaneity, surprises and “flying by the seat of your pants!” Your sense of humour and fun are let loose during this transit, as is your ability to break out of old outworn habits. You may get a flash of insight, a burst of courage or a surge of inspiration under this transit. The spirit of who you are can become released now, possibly leading to you behaving a bit “out of character.” It’s a great time to try new things and experiment with something that’s out of character for you. In fact, it may be surprising how easy it is to break out of your usual routine…so much so, that it’s good to be careful not to be too reckless under this transit. If your self-confidence, self-expression or self-esteem have been stifled or dampened lately, these could come flying out rather erratically, carelessly or chaotically. Strive to have fun pushing the envelope without ripping it.

Aug.04 – Sun square North Lunar Node (12:29 of Leo/Scorpio)
When the Sun squares the Lunar Nodes, your sense of purpose and identity appear to be in conflict with the lessons you need to learn in life. It may feel like you’re forced to take a detour around your direct route to your destination (whatever that might be). This may only be true on the surface – if you look deeper at the situation (or possibly in retrospect), you’ll probably find that your sense of self is actually helped by the benefits that you are able to get on that detour, which would have missed if you hadn’t been diverted from your original path.

Alternatively, you might be confronted by a conflict or stressful dilemma that you usually resist or flail against. This may be an opportunity to explore a deeper level of your experience and feelings. Perhaps there is fear or resentment or defiance behind your reaction. This is a chance to try on a different perspective and respond in a different way that can help you move through the situation instead of just being blocked by it.

When the Sun squares the Nodes it is sometimes called “Moon Wobbles,” which is a bit of a misnomer. The Moon itself doesn’t wobble or even necessarily interact directly with either the Nodes or the Sun. Rather, the Moon part of us (the inner, feeling, intuitive, sensitive part of us) may feel a bit “wobbly” or unsteady when the Sun squares the Nodes. The “Moon Wobble” effects are said to build and dissipate for up to 10 days before and after the Sun-Node square is exact.

read more at: More on today’s Cosmic Alignment

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