Stellar Insights: July 15 - 21, 2019

Photo by David Cohen via Unsplash

Photo by David Cohen via Unsplash

Did you hear about the blackout that happened in New York City this past weekend? Just before 7 pm, darkness befell a swath of Manhattan (coincidentally on the 42nd anniversary of the 1977 massive blackout). While the latter lasted more than one day and affected more than 9 million people, this one was shorter and less widespread, lasting several hours and impacting about 70,000 building sites.

The reason I’m sharing this is that I feel like blackouts provide us a poetic astro parable for the moment, a moment that includes being in the midst of Eclipse season—with the Lunar Eclipse occurring on Tuesday—with this this upcoming lunation tying right into the Saturn/Pluto Conjunction.

Saturn reminds us of limits, the power of rules, and the importance of time. Pluto, meanwhile, is the planet of the underworld, governing the dark, drawing our attention to shadows, and reminding us to dig into the depth of our resourcefulness.

Mind you, this isn’t the only blackout that has been in our collective attention recently. For example, Venezuela has been suffering with blackouts since March and in mid-June, Argentina and Uruguay experienced nationwide blackouts. 

Yet, perhaps because New York City is closer to home for me on many levels, and it occurred just 16 hours before Sunday’s exact Sun/Pluto Opposition, it has been a strong image for me for these times, notably as it’s a period when we may feel like we’re plunging here and there into darkness—whether because of personal or collective events—and seeing how we react to this experience.

As I read the news reports and the accounts of people experiencing the blackout, I’m reminded again of how the first response to darkness may be disorientation and shock. Of course, when you can’t see, and when things are different, we are also met by our survival fears. Hello Pluto!

Pluto also reminds us to dig deep into our resourcefulness, to burrow in to find deeper abilities than we ever thought possible. During a blackout, we find the need to become innovative, and banding together with others may become a way of finding strength; when ‘normalcy’ is stripped away, so may be barriers that keep us from connecting with others. When we are in need, we may be more vulnerable, which could inspire us to relate with people in a deeper way, helping others with their needs while sharing what ours are. After all, our survival and flourishing may seem like they depend upon it. Reflecting on the blackout, whether it was how people responded to each other on the subways, how individuals volunteered to direct traffic at light-less intersections, how diners ended up still enjoying their meals at restaurants by the light of their phone, or other shared experiences, the blackout had people find ways to thrive when doing so required going below the surface of rote ways and responses. 

One last thing that really struck me about the blackout: how the casts of Broadway musicals, which were cancelled due to the power outage, took to the streets and sang and serenaded sidewalk audiences. A do-or-die “The show must go on” orientation feels very Plutonian.

And, it wasn’t lost on me that this was all happening during Mercury being retrograde in the theatrical and generous sign of Leo. Actors finding creative ways to still share their light and bring joy to others when the regular communication path is disrupted = how very Mercury retrograde in Leo! (I was especially taken by all the attention that the stars of Hadestown were receiving for their street performances; after all, Hades is the Greek equilavent of Pluto!)

I share all of this not only as a way of reflecting the synchronicity but of trying to bring to life in another way what it is that may be calling forth for us during this time. The Saturn/Pluto Conjunction colors the kairos for the next year and it’s quite highlighted right now given this lunar Eclipse and the fact that richness-inspiring Venus ties into it also this week.

See if the image of the blackout and the correlates that it carries—survival, fear, darkness, loss of power and regaining power, resourcefulness, vulnerability, regeneration, et al—help you to frame what you feel you may be moving through during this time. There are lots of ways to work with this image. Here are some ideas for questions that you could frame to yourself:

  • Do I feel like i’m experiencing a blackout in any realms of my life?

  • Where do I feel I can’t see clearly as I did?

  • When I can’t see as I usually have, to where do I look for illumination?

  • When do I feel disempowered?

  • If I feel that I lost my power, what do I do to regain it?

  • What do I need to invest in to forge foundations that are more impervious to outer forces?

  • How can I further value the resources I have which I can offer to people and communities in need?

  • What springs forth when I open to more rawness and vulnerability?

  • What can never be stripped from me even if the external world shifts?

All this feels like juicy reflection work to do this week, one that not only includes the Lunar Eclipse that illuminates the deconstruct-to-reconstruct themes of the Saturn/Pluto Conjunction but as values-driven Venus also ties into this powerful alignment. 

For more on the Lunar Eclipse, see here.

Also this week, on Friday, we have Mercury in its backwards dance re-entering Cancer. And as it does, it crosses over that point where the fixed sign of Leo meets the cardinal sign of Cancer. Why this feels especially important to me is that this fixed/cardinal meeting point is where so much of the astro action occurred in the past year: 

  • It’s the place that Uranus moved through when it entered the fixed sign Taurus (May 15, 2018), dashed back to the cardinal sign of Aries (November 6, 2018), and then plodded back into Taurus (March 6, 2019).

  • It’s the place where Mars in its retrograde cycle zinged into the fixed sign of Aquarius (May 15, 2018), hiked back into the cardinal sign of Capricorn (August 12, 2018) and then shifted back to Aquarius (September 10, 2018).

  • It’s the place where Venus in its retrograde cycle dove into the fixed sign of Scorpio (September 9, 2018), sashayed back to the cardinal sign of Libra (October 31, 2018) and then charged back to Scorpio (December 2, 2018).

  • And it’s the place where we had a Lunar Eclipse this past January 20, with the Sun and Moon at the entry point (the very first degree) of the fixed signs of Aquarius and Leo, respectively.


I’ve been thinking about how in its current retrograde cycle, Mercury will resonate with that spot and therefore may provide us with more understanding and clearer access to be able to communicate some of the breakthroughs and creative shake-ups we experienced in 2018 and early 2019.

As you know, when a planet, like Mercury, moves through a retrograde cycle, it dances over certain points three times: once in its initial path, once in its reverse path, and the third time after it has moved forward again. In addition to it moving over this fixed/cardinal juxtaposition point this week on July 19, the other two dates it does this include June 26 and August 11. I share these dates as you may see that this week you get a new perspective on things that arose for you the end of June and once mid-August arrives you may find yourself with greater clarity that has come by revisiting this realm of your life.

I wish that this week provides you with great illumination as to the ways in which you find your deep resources of power as a way to greet, relate with, and move through experiences of darkness.

Astrological Highlights

July 16

  • Capricorn Lunar Eclipse

July 17

  • Venus/Saturn Opposition

July 18

  • Venus/Neptune Trine

July 19

  • Mercury retrograde re-enters Cancer

July 21

  • Venus/Pluto Opposition

  • Sun/Mercury Conjunction

All days reflective of Eastern Daylight Time Zone ( -4 hours GMT)