“Painful feelings are, by their very nature, temporary. They will weaken over time as long as we don’t prolong or amplify them through resistance or avoidance. The only way to eventually free ourselves from debilitating pain, therefore, is to be with it as it is.”
—Kristin Neff, Self-Compassion
When I want to unwind, occasionally I’ll watch old episodes of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. Sometimes Ross drops in trees decisively, using thick, bold strokes. Other times he uses a fan brush to gently blend and soften pre-existing paint. This is a week for blending and softening. It’s an emotionally raw time when we need more solitude to recover and integrate the strong feelings stirred by last week’s Cancer eclipse. Between two eclipses is always an eerie zone. Though our intuition is crisp, reality also seems foggy—we don’t quite know what’s real. Take a look at the Moon card in a Rider-Waite tarot deck. We’re passing through that kind of otherworldly gateway, hearing dogs of fear howl and glimpsing muddy monsters of our subconscious—and past—emerge from a pool.
During eclipse season, surges of enthusiasm and exhaustion alternate wildly within us. That roller-coaster effect is further intensified by this summer’s retrograding, out-of-bounds Mars. We’re also approaching a harsh square between the Sun and Uranus on the 25th, one that’s already tossing us shocks and stark changes. On Friday, Venus and Neptune form an opposition that can pop bubbles of fantasy or reveal illusions about love or money. Mars will also sit on the South node on Thursday, a place of goodbyes and loss. Once the Sun enters Fire sign Leo on the 22nd, priorities should subtly shift from private nurturing to public creating. Though Leo season is typically a time for taking brave action and dropping in those “happy little trees,” this isn’t exactly a great week for making final decisions or declarations. On top of all the eclipse wackiness, Mercury’s a mess too. Just do your best.
Sink yourself into tasks like washing dishes or weeding the garden. Rest with ice tea. Cope with crafts, raspberries, and chocolate, or whatever small pleasures you fancy. Self-care provides necessary softness for the sharp parts of this week. During the partial solar eclipse on the 12th, Pluto opened some traumatic containers. And trauma isn’t a one-time event, but rather a lingering sound that can get quiet or loud. You’re still dealing with those disturbing Pluto sounds. So soothe yourself. Observe any freakouts like this: “Oh, there you are, eclipse lesson. You’re coming up for a reason, and your sting will pass.”
Honestly, the lunar eclipse on July 27 will be rough too. It looks like an angry, past-shoveling challenge of a full Moon. Because eclipse season is notoriously time-bendy, you may already be sensing that next eclipse. Like many astro events, eclipses are less about the precise moment they occur and more about the buildup and waves that follow. In these last days of Cancer season, put on your secret sob-on-the-futon ’90s mix and let yourself emote. Acknowledge the hurt. Speaking of Cancer: How connected—or ostracized—we feel is a recurring theme now, especially on Thursday when a Libra Moon (relationships and groups of people) squares the Cancer Sun’s sense of belonging and support. Remember: The discomfort is temporary.
YOU CAN PLANET
Wednesday the 18th opens the astro week with a fairly balanced day that encourages us to work with others. But on Thursday the 19th, a quarter Moon in Libra squares the Sun in Cancer, clashing personal feelings of acceptance against group judgment. We may feel ostracized or consider how our choices affect others. Mars hovers over the the south node too, marking a day of release. On Friday the 20th, the Moon enters insightful Scorpio. An argumentative asteroid Eris makes noise as it stations to turn retrograde. You may hear news that’s upsetting. It’s a day of deep feelings, but there’s also a sweet angle between Venus and Mars that lends momentum, as well as a helpful aspect between Saturn and Neptune that nudges along progress. On Saturday the 21st, you’ll want to clean out areas of your life that feel cobwebby and focus on home. Leo season begins on Sunday the 22nd when the Sun enters Leo at 2 p.m. Sunday also provides an emboldening, supportive aspect between Venus and Jupiter that clarifies our vision and gives us strength. Joining forces with others is a good plan today. On Monday the 23rd, expect stress throughout the morning. By evening there’s an aspect between the Sun and Neptune that says you’re not seeing the full picture yet. On Tuesday the 24th, a Venus/Neptune opposition brings disappointment in relationships or finances. Yet the Sun and Chiron also give you a new opportunity to heal.