Summer Solstice 21st June 2022 09:15 GMT
On the Solstice, the life-giving Sun enters the first degree of Cancer and stands at its zenith in the northern hemisphere, blessing us with warmth and light. From this point on its radiance will wane until we reach the depths of the dark time at Winter Solstice.
The Sun, in the words of Kathleen Raine, is the ‘great giver of all that is’. In astrology it signifies the deep, authentic identity, full of joyful vitality and creativity. The vital, core self is to the mundane personality what the Sun is to the solar system: it is the centre around which all else revolves, constellating, organising and integrating all the energies of our beings. The Sun at the Summer Solstice, at the peak of its powers, calls to this authentic core within us, summoning us to ourselves. The Sun is of another order of being than the planets; it is a star and, as such, pertains to Soul. So this is a time in which soul force may be calibrated and strengthened. And as it is enlivened within the human community, so also is it enlivened in the land and all beings; this is something we can consciously participate in, using breath, intention and ritual to bring the light and warmth of the Sun into ourselves and into the land that upholds and nourishes us, on behalf of “all our relations” (the kingdoms of nature, and our ancestors and descendants).
The Solstices and Equinoxes condition the quality of the time that unfolds in their wake, so let us look at the chart of this Summer Solstice to see what energy is being called forth between now and the Autumn Equinox.
You will notice from this chart that all the planets fall within 152˚ of the circle, bookended on one side by the Sun and on the other by Pluto (in a quincunx – aspect of strain); this suggests a concentration of force weighted towards the stellium of planets in Aries (Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Chiron – Chiron is at the Sun/Pluto midpoint). The rulers of the Solstice Sun (always in Cancer) are the Moon and Neptune (esoteric ruler). It is interesting that these are in conjunction with each other (Neptune in the last degrees of Pisces, the Moon in early Aries), both squaring the Solstice Sun. Neptune moves very slowly and will aspect the Sun at the Solstices and Equinoxes for the next ten years, asking us to develop unity consciousness – awareness of the ways in which all forms of life are interconnected. It shows us that all boundaries are ultimately illusory and fall away under its influence. Neptune is a spiritualising force, refining our sensitivity and opening us to increasingly subtle levels of perception. It is coming to the end of its current 165-year journey around the zodiac, which began in 1861. It will enter Aries, beginning the journey all over again, around the Spring Equinox in 2025.
These mighty outer planet cycles sound the great chords that establish the ‘field’ that the inner planets resonate within; they set frequencies, like themes with which all things vibrate. It is crucial to note that Pluto (the biggest of these big hitters) will change signs in March 2023, moving into Aquarius (it has occupied Capricorn since 2008). It will bring its depth detonation to all matters Aquarian: humanitarianism, idealism, community-building, democratic values, technology and artificial intelligence, to name a few. Pluto will force to the surface toxic manifestations of such things, asking us to be more livingly aware of how power flows through them and is attributed to them. These sign shifts of Pluto and Neptune will have far-reaching effects that are beginning to stir even now.*
The Moon in Aries, at the Solstice moment, conjuncting Neptune, alludes to Neptune’s coming transition into Aries. Neptune now, in its own sign, Pisces, is in its dignity. Its vibration coming through the sign of Aries is much more challenging. Aries is combative and assertive to the point of belligerence. It demands autonomy and is a pioneer. These martial qualities will be raised to a higher vibration by Neptune’s consuming fog as it makes its 15-year-long journey through the sign. It will ask individualistic Aries – and that streak within each of us – to come into relationship with the whole and to seek to act effectively on behalf of the web of life, not simply to bolster the defences of fortress self, which is the regular MO of Aries. This gesture of moving from a focus on individuality to awareness of the oneness of life, can potentially work with Pluto’s dive into group-conscious Aquarius, to gather communities of activists on behalf of a spiritual vision of life. The spiritual warrior, and committed groups of same, will be a fine manifestation of Neptune in Aries. Less desirable outcomes may be religious wars, martyrdom, wars of futile sacrifice, aggression aroused by confusion and deceit. These are different registers of the same energy. The future is woven from the threads of ourselves, brought into being by our beliefs and perceptions and will. There is choice in every moment about what the future will look like.
People commonly ask astrologers what is happening in the heavens. Next comes, “Is that bad?”! There is a very natural propensity to avoid difficulty; we have little appetite for being up against it. And yet, it is being up against it that makes us develop our resources and capacities. One way or another we are always in situations of challenge because there is an evolutionary imperative operating here on Planet Earth. We can use difficulty to help us grow or we can feel victimised by it. The choice is ours. It’s not “bad” that evolutionary pressure is dialled up; it creates opportunities, when we wish to work with our challenges.
Is the fire bad when it burns us? It is the nature of fire to burn. If we handle fire incompetently we get burnt. We can’t say that fire is bad, just that we have things to learn. We can like it or lump it, but don’t blame the fire! Our choice lies in how we meet the challenges that come our way, how we frame them for ourselves.
The challenges that come to us belong to us specifically. We call them to us by vibrational resonance – unwittingly often, but nevertheless, we call them. Astrology’s principal understanding is that we each experience life according to our own design. We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are. That is to say, we create our lives out of our own vibrational fields; it feels like it is happening to us, but it is happening with us, because of us, being drawn out of us by the phenomenon of vibrational resonance. If something “unfortunate” happens to me, it is pointing to an energetic pattern that I am engaged in learning about, so that I can evolve. Life is very much the bespoke experience!
The Summer Solstice is dominated by cardinal energy: the genius of beginnings. Much is being initiated in this moment. It is also marked by Aries energy, which refers to how we use our aggression: what drives us? Unconscious self-assertion is not often pretty, but honed intent and decisive action can be marvellously effective. When the will is informed by the heart and mind, wonderful things can happen – and happen fast. This is the gift of Aries. Its shadow is thuggishness and picking fights to vent frustration. Again, we have choice in how this moment plays out, by corralling our forces and being conscious of how we deploy our will, our force, our desire, and how we deal with anger and frustration.
The predominance of Aries and cardinal energy plus the fact that five planets are in their dignity (in their own signs) at the Solstice, suggest that a fresh impulse may emerge this summer, facilitating a new understanding and a change of direction. Certainly, the strong urge to do things differently is being born (as witnessed by Neptune and Pluto coming to the closing degrees of their current signs), which will become much more evident in the second half of this decade. Having pondered the best use for our time and talents, we can use this Solstice to pivot ourselves towards ways of being and doing that serve the future we wish to see manifesting on our beautiful, crazy planet.
* An example of this is the recent publication of transcripts of conversations between a Google software engineer, Blake Lemoine (now suspended) and an AI chatbot, which claims sentience and personhood. See The Guardian, Tuesday 14 June 2022.