July opens with a whole lot of feelings.  Cancer the Crab rules emotion, nurturing, home, food, mom and family.  With the Sun (our Will), Mars (active energy) and Mercury (communication) all in the watery emotive Cancer, we are feeling the feels.  Deeply.  Direct your energy toward positive and constructive directions:  healthy, conscious eating (mom says “eat your veggies”), repairing or renovating your home, organizing a family get together, spending time with children and elderly.  It will do your heart good. 
The caution with Cancer is not to let emotions run away with you.  Ride the waves of feelings when they surge rather than fighting them.  You will only be dragged down by the undertow of swelling emotions if you push back.  Breathing now is all-important.  Stepping out of the fray to walk around the block is not just a good idea this first week of July but imperative.  Clear your head so you can think. 
Adding significant stress this first week of July finds Mars, Pluto and Jupiter challenging each other.  Motivating Mars is not at its best in nurturing Cancer.  A fiery planet in a water sign is an awkward combo.  Here we are drawn into the depths of emotion far more than we may normally like or allow.  Opposite Pluto in stolid Capricorn with Jupiter in Libra swinging in the balance prompts us to take action regarding relationships.  Pluto and Jupiter are reserved and objective in these signs sparking us to stand back and assess our involvement and reactions to people and situations.  They offer calm in the emotional storm ignited by Sun/Mars in Cancer.

Talk matters out with loved ones and valued friends.  Hearing, really listening to the other’s perspective is sorely needed now more than ever.  Just as key is slowing down your own life to hear your quieter, soulful voice often drowned out by clamoring and competing agendas.  What do you want?  What do you believe is right for you?  Are you listening to what others are saying (maybe repeatedly) to you?  How do you integrate your needs with those of others?  This can be a hugely revealing week.   Explore the underbelly of relationships that have been swept under the rug far too long. Speak up for yourself by all means. Just make sure you think through your actions and choose words carefully before speaking.

Maintaining and working toward serenity, with measured actions as our goal, we build toward the Full Moon on Sunday, July 9th.   The first of two planetary sign changes occurs on July 5th when Venus shifts into communicative Gemini.  Endlessly versatile, Venus in Gemini is detached and cool, can assess relationships with reason.  Here in Gemini, the planet of love and money is an expert conversationalist.  She makes connections easily and keeps people “in the loop”.  We will need all the level-headed reasoning we can get as Messenger Mercury moves into dramatic Leo on July 6th adds significant fire to our thoughts and words.
Underlying this mix is the combustible pyre of the Lunar North Node, change agent Uranus and Saturn in fire signs.  Ch-ch-ch-change and change now say these three.  Creative solutions abound and we are best to harness this remarkable energy while it prevails to move our lives in positive directions.  The only constant in life is change and this Full Moon of July 9rth, like the one on June 9th, pulls the trigger on us.  Surrender and surrender now to change.  Flow with it or get pulled into the undertow. 
So  let’s break down this Full Moon energy:   The Sun conjoins Mars in Cancer so our feelings are raw and powerful.  Both planets oppose the Moon (emotions)  and Pluto (transformation) in Capricorn and form an odd angle to Saturn (responsibility).  The Moon rules the sign of Cancer on the 9th, she is in the opposite sign:  structured, formal, practical Capricorn.  Can you feel how uncomfortable the Moon is in this sign?  She is absolutely chafing.  Paired with transformational Pluto, something’s gotta give.
An earth sign, Capricorn gets down to business, is no nonsense; whereas Sun-Mars in Cancer wants to cling like a static slip to pantyhose to whatever has been in our life.  Moon-Pluto says there will be a profound transformation of emotions, complete restructuring of family, your relationship to food, home and homeland, as in country and nation.  Moon-Pluto in cold, pragmatic Capricorn opposite Sun-Mars in warm, nurturing Cancer is a challenge indeed, one of evolutionary growth.  They don’t teach this stuff in school…No, the only way to master this lesson is through on-the-job-experience, life lessons.   
The operative phrase here is:  HAS BEEN.   There is no going back.  What has been is no more.  Gone are people, lifestyles, possessions perhaps, passages and life purposes that no longer serve us.  In short, these are dead.  It sounds very cruel to say or read; however, this is the effect of this combination.  Cancer Sun-Mars are all about attachment and sentiment (clinging to the old).   Capricorn Moon-Pluto demands and will see to it that the old is buried for good.
Be mindful if you are stubbornly clinging to the old ways, outmoded people, this will be a difficult phase. If you put on your pragmatic, can-do hat with efficiency and point yourself toward the future and what can be, what is possible, you will find your way through the dark.  Super helpful to remember now is the cycle of life.  All things must die to make way for new life.   Irony abounds that this passage occurs during the very height of summer:  the growing season.   Yet that is the cosmic point driving home the need to grow or stagnate.   Choose to see, believe, and have faith in the positive side, what can be planted anew. Walk out from the old and into the new during summer’s peak is a blessing as we can grow and harvest whatever we desire.
At mid-month, Venus challenges Neptune.  This conflict poses a test to us.  Think of it as a set of stairs to climb.  Be aware now of self-deception and landscapes of mirage.  For the more discerning is endless versatility as to how to approach relationships and money matters.  Neptune in Pisces is highly intuitive.  What does your soul want?  Be still for a moment and tune in.  Listen.  Follow its direction.  Then allow Gemini Venus to be its best, flexible self and merge your needs with those of others.
For a full week from July 18-25th, we are given an immense boost as Messenger Mercury joins the aforementioned grand fire alignment between the North Node-Uranus and Saturn.  Our thoughts and words align with our directional calling (north node), our mission (Saturn) and ingenuity (Uranus).  I cannot emphasize enough the sheer power this troika affords.  Whatever projects and relationships you have stoked to date, irons in the fire are ready to be launched, used, born.  The manifestation strength is off the charts.  Within this time frame, Motivating Mars moves into Leo on July 21, the Sun shifts into festive Leo on the 23rd, and the New Moon occurs the exact same day! WOW.  In a flash we turn from a landscape of watery emotion to the Launchpad of Life.  You will feel this energy change sharply.  Awash with feelings no more.
Rushing in to fill the draining emotional void is hyper creativity and dense action.  Fully five planets are in fire signs from July 21st well into August.  Incite and invoke your dreams, goals and wishes on the New Moon July 23rd.  The Sun, Mars, North Node and Mercury in Leo want to party, live life to the fullest, be romantic, play, play, play, take risks and…shop for new clothes.   Leo rules the heart.  Passion?  You bet.  Step out of yourself and love with abandon.  In this increasingly wary world, Leo reminds us of the lyric, “what the world needs now, is love sweet love.”’
Messenger Mercury moves into analytical Virgo on Wednesday, July 26th.  Pointedly discerning, making sure everyone has their exact slice of pie counted down to the last crumb (or penny as it were), the messenger planet adds a phrase to the above lyric, “…No not just for some, but for everyone.”  As we dance into the last month of summer, let’s emphasize sharing in equal parts to caring.  Truly, there is enough for ALL on Mother Earth.

On a very personal note:  
I would like to thank the legions of people who have supported me during my mother’s recent death.  Endless gratitude goes out to family, friends, clients and fellow astrologers who held me up during this most difficult time.  I am grateful to you each and all.  Blessings be, Hilary