July 2023 Astrology: Mirror Check

July is a huge month astrologically – seeing the shift of the lunar nodes out of Scorpio/Taurus and into Libra/Aries, a Mars-Saturn opposition, and Venus’ station retrograde in Leo. These events each speak to an emerging aspect of selfhood: something inside of us that wants to come out and be more alive and expressed. Relationship activity is often a ground for these desires to emerge, such as when we are inspired by other people or we compare ourselves to others, or we receive reflections from others that provoke us deeply. The month will hold an interplay of how we grow together as well as where we have to take our own path to grow.

The reflection we receive from life as a whole does reflect where we are at. It is personal. Venus in Leo could superficially relate to vanity (as Venus does in general, and Leo is about personal creativity and radiance). But spiritually, this month can activate mirror-checks or a newfound desire to see something different in the mirror that is our life – and herein lies an unfolding adventure of creativity and self-actualization.

The Mars-Saturn opposition occurring this month happens in the signs of Virgo and Pisces. In tandem with the ‘mirror-check’ energy, the Mars-Saturn opposition could have us seeing what needs improvement in a way that feels very squirmy/cringey to witness for ourselves. It is a skillset of Virgo/Pisces to be present with a process and to not allow shame to sabotage the process. Sometimes we use shame to punish ourselves in an extra way and we overcompensate. Or we let shame keep us so uncomfortable that we avoid looking at and working with the thing it is pointing to. Or we bypass the shame and focus on the positive to feel better (and neglect the more challenging process). If shame comes up, see what your capacity is to be present with the thing beneath it so that you don’t neglect the alchemy that is possible there. You’re not alone in having cringe material – it’s pretty universal.

Within the major transits of the month, there is a getting to work vibe, getting serious about our process. If we face impasses, we might also be employing some new strategies to loosen up the material. The Mars-Saturn opposition happens in mutable signs, which have a shiftier/looser energy. It may also mean the dynamics we are working with or being confronted by show up in a lot of little parallel ways, like our karmic material doesn’t *just* show up in our romantic relationships for example but it also shows up in our health, work, friendships, and so on. It makes it harder to avoid what it’s time for us to alchemize and see. This is a great time to take responsibility for personal growth instead of feeling victimized by the ways the problems/symptoms show up in our lives.

Photograph: Sabrina Monarch, Psyche concept – shot by Mason Rose

Read below an overview of the major transits this month after an announcement:

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July 3: Full Moon in Capricorn

The full moon in Capricorn is a potent contrast of Cancer Season. In Cancer Season we revel in the fruits of summer and we create experiences that will surely be future memories. Intimacy and family is highlighted as we spend quality time with our closest community. If we are lonely or feeling disconnected, the tide of melancholy can be strong as we yearn for a sense of home.

The Capricorn full moon relates to a peak moment of sobriety inside of the way we are tumbling through the summer (or just, Cancer Season if not on the northern hemisphere). We could realize we are not on the same emotional page as another person where we expected to be. We could realize that a defensive pattern we have been holding onto due to past disappointments or traumas is no longer suitable or relevant for the way life is seeking to move and inspire us now.

However it subjectively reaches us (as a positive or negative experience) there is something being highlighted around cutting excess – like cutting a projection or expectation that isn’t realistic, or cutting an egoic pattern that is sabotaging our capacity to enjoy ourselves. Sobriety isn’t an end to fun at all – often it’s just a pathway to a more grounded type of satisfaction and connection with self and life.

Sobriety though, does cut our attachment to particular ways of coping. So, it can feel hard. But it is satisfying to appropriately grow up or grow beyond.

One thing that does feed the Capricorn Moon and its sensibility is to create ritual or dignity around the changes that are happening. If there is something to celebrate, don’t skip out on that by thinking it’s not a big deal – have the celebration. If there is grief, don’t just tough it out or minimize it – get creative, sing by the ocean, make art or ritual around the feeling.

July 10: Mars enters Virgo

Mars leaves Venus behind in Leo (they traveled together for a bit) and Venus is going to stay in Leo for a while due to the approaching retrograde. Some tensions emerged with the Venus-Mars conjunction in Leo, perhaps anger or wounded pride around not feeling truly seen or recognized.

Mars is now dealing with that by getting to work making adjustments (Virgo) or working on craft. It’s like not making the cut at a dance audition and then continuing to learn the dance. Whether or not we feel our unseen-ness was accurate or fair, with Mars in Virgo we can admit that there’s room for improvement and work to be done.

This work is not necessarily to earn the approval of someone or something else – it is likely more personal than that. For example, someone may feel they really lost touch with themselves inside of a relationship and the ‘work’ now is finding connection to themselves again. An internal rightness is sought.

July 17: New Moon in 24 Cancer (opposite Pluto in Capricorn)

This New Moon in Cancer could bring up a swell of desire to feel connected and close. The height of Cancer is after all, that sense of being loved and loving, the sense of being home, the sense of living in such a way that our present moment is worthy of becoming future nostalgia.

The opposition of this lunation to Pluto in Capricorn, and trine to Neptune in Pisces, suggests a power, a primal quality, and a deeply unconscious/subconscious quality weaving through our deepest yearnings for connection.

We may be grappling with our impulses to protect others or our desire to feel safe and protected and feeling just how deep that runs in our bones and blood. If we wanted to feel like an animal – this is one one place it happens. (Think of mother animals in the wild…)

More subtly, we may also want to uncover some clarity around what we feel is in the way of feeling safe or connected. There is real/actual safety and then there is preference: what we want or what we think the conditions ‘should’ be in order to open to life. This is where we are liable to project our own power onto external conditions/circumstances/people/etc as well as where we are liable to become manipulative (to seek to ‘get’ what we want).

July 17: Lunar Nodes enter 29 Libra and 29 Aries

This is very significant – the lunar nodes shift around every 18 months and are the places the eclipses play out. We have had the lunar nodes in Scorpio and Taurus the last 18 months and are entering a new karmic backdrop of Libra/Aries. The nodes travel backwards, so they ingress at the end of the sign.

The Libra South Node corresponds with personal and collective memories of peacemaking and relational harmonizing. While this is a skillset, it is also positioned here currently as something that is diminishing in returns or effectiveness. This means that situations or initiations could crop up where peacemaking would just be the same as fawning.

The North Node in Aries points to an emerging personal and collective impulse around self-assertion or going out our own way instead of trying to bring others along in a co-dependent way. Naturally this can be scary, and Aries itself calls on and promotes courage.

This will not be about abandoning relationships or collaboration ultimately — but rather approaching those things with enough self-possession and selfhood intact.

That this nodal shift is happening in tandem with Venus stationing retrograde (a few days from here) and a Mars-Saturn opposition, it’s likely there are relationship tensions or impasses coming up where it’s being revealed that people simply hold different values or are in very different places. We might want to examine what journeys are meant for us alone and are not meant to be walked hand-in-hand – whether that means going separate ways entirely or having truer boundaries around specific dimensions of the relationship or collaboration.

July 20: Mars in 6 Virgo opposite Saturn in 6 Pisces

Mars in Virgo will bring in some urgency around improvements and adjustments or ‘fixing’ while Saturn in Pisces relates to an oceanic morass of a structure. The challenge here will be clarity – knowing what exactly needs to be addressed. Mars in Virgo will bring urgency to the will around making things better, but it would be equally frustrating to not know where the leak is for example and not knowing where to send that ‘fixing’ energy.

While there can be frustration or a sense of being at an impasse, breakthroughs or lucidity can happen here as well. The forces we are seeking to harmonize are that of a deeper spiritual maturity and awareness (Saturn in Pisces) with a willingness to align our actions to that (Mars in Virgo). 

The Virgo-Pisces axis highlights the connection between practice and magic (how practice creates space for flow and magic, especially the more we devote ourselves to the channel) as well as magic itself and things like altars or ceremonies where the material realm is a portal to the divine.

Our dreams will not come true magically without effort.

And yet our efforts are not meant to be a prison.

Herein lies some balance.

July 22: Venus stations retrograde in 28 Leo

Also a very significant transit, not just of the month but of the year. Venus retrogrades are ceremonies of the heart and often correspond with internal shifts around our values and desires as well as relationship shifts that arise naturally out of that. This includes entering, exiting, redefining, renegotiating relationships, as well as turning new chapters in existing relationships. Internally, this can also be a deepening of self-awareness around what we truly desire and value, and turning a new chapter in our own self-romance.

Venus in Leo may surface desires around how we want to feel seen or reflected in ways we currently maybe don’t. Is there something hidden in us that needs development and spotlight? That needs our own recognition?

Venus retrogrades highlight the internal side of Venus (as opposed to the external). Our external relationships always mirror our inner life anyway, but Venus retrograde has a way of working that point. So when it comes to being seen, the external dimension of that is validation, while the internal dimension of that is knowing who we are and feeling the intrinsic celebration and radiance of it. This internally connected way of being is ultimately magnetic and attracts admiration/interest from the outside world.

Take note of where it actually feels deeply needed and vulnerable to see yourself. Where it would be easier to avoid yourself. Where you’re being called to make the time and space to play with your own emerging creativity – where you’ve really had enough hiding.

July 27: Venus retrograde in 28 Leo conjunct Mercury in 28 Leo

Exact Venus-Mercury conjunctions aren’t that common, even though the two planets stay close together at all times. Venus-Mercury conjunctions highlight enjoyable communication, the artistry of language, and connected conversation. This transit could offer language, discernment, craft, and intelligibility, to our feelings at the moment and allow us to convey them from the heart.

🍇 On a personal note, I write this to you from Crete, Greece where I’m emerging from the ECSTASIS Ceremony I held with Karla Palomino. 🍇

An immersion to live out and feel through our bodies the myths of Semele and Zeus (who create Dionysus), Ariadne and the Minotaur, Ariadne and Theseus and Dionysus and Ariadne (his wife and mythic counterpart, mortal turned goddess of labyrinths and paths)⁣

These myths offered complex textures to understand the energetic of ecstasy ⁣

How it’s born⁣
How we defend against it or close to it⁣
How we open to it and sustain⁣
What ecstasy really is, beyond our mental conditions of what it should be⁣

It was gorgeous and sublime to witness each woman here deeply receive it⁣

One of my favorite things we touched was the revelry that is chosen from the graveyard of our plans or what we thought would be *it*

These are the spots we often don’t know how to fully grieve – it feels like too big a betrayal or loss to really forgive and let go ⁣

A knowing that dropped that ecstasy does not rescue us ⁣

We choose, against the seduction of our own labyrinths, to open and allow in a play that comes from the void ⁣

So we don’t forget ecstasy is a God ⁣

Who will awaken us as much as we can allow it in⁣

As much as we can say yes to an invisible current that guides us worlds beyond than the destination on the map we imagine for ourselves as *it*

⁣When we touch that & trace the current so far back to the center of our heart⁣

To our innate essence⁣

And remember we already are that which we seek & that our remembrance of it catches the mirroring of the gods ⁣

& life plays back 🪞

With love,

Sabrina Monarch

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