This month begins with all the feels turned way high. With three planets in Cancer, we’re getting a guided tour through the more sensitive places in our hearts. Cancer is the sign of all that is tender and warm and sweet — that soft fluff lining a bird nest to keep the eggs secure, for example, and also all that is fiercely protective and defensive — the parent birds’ sharp talons and beaks aimed at anyone who gets too near their eggs. We’ve all got some Cancer energy in us, and this month we’re learning more about what makes us melt and what makes us fiercely defend the parts of us that are too melty to defend themselves. Especially with Mars, planet of sex and self-assertion, in Cancer until the 21st, we’re working through all the ways we can get hurt (or hurt others) through our desires and our boundary-setting (or lack thereof). The goal is to learn from these sometimes tricky interactions to feel a deeper sense of safety with our friends and lovers.
July opens with a few aspects that are best handled carefully, as the planets moving through Cancer set off an old tension between Uranus and Pluto. Remember 2012 and 2013? Whatever issues were coming up for you then around your need for freedom and your struggles with power, you may find some reminders of those times this month. Expect some old relationship drama to resurface briefly, just so you can recognize what you haven’t fully resolved. The good news is you’ve learned a lot since then about how to handle chaos and how to rebalance power — both when someone tries to control you, and when your own fears send you into controlling mode. These are hard lessons we’re all continuously learning as we learn to love each other better — which means unlearning our culture’s toxic patterns of relating. If you’re seeing something in yourself you wish you could change right now, know that you’re the product of a wounded culture, and that you’re doing the hard work of self-awareness and that this is a beautiful step!
Also this month, Venus moves into Gemini on the 6th, enlivening our desires to talk and socialize, and Mars moves into Leo on the 21st, at which point our passionate natures will move from the watery realms of feelings to the more passionate, playful energy of romance and joy. Use the New Moon in Leo on the 23rd to help you call in all the hot and sweet and nasty connections that will help you feel that it’s good to be alive right now, and that you’re in the best company you could wish for. As all the Cancer energy of early July shifts, we get to move from healing our wounds (incredibly important!) to reconnecting with our lust for life (also incredibly important!). As always, the astro-literate are advised to read their rising signs first, followed by Sun and Moon, and everyone is welcome to choose the ones that resonate best for you this month. For in-depth readings and other astro-insight, find me at flaxandgold [dot] com.
This month is what the experts like to call a growth opportunity for you, dearest fire sign, as your ruling planet Mars is still wading through watery Cancer. Try not to get too squeamish about what you uncover emotionally, as your bravery in the face of the Gollum-like creatures of your heart is what will help transform them into respectable little hobbits no longer slavering over some ring of power. In other words, you might have to peer into the murky depths of your emotional world right now and learn about all the hidden things going on there — but through this process, you’ll be able to learn something that will take a huge weight off of you. Make room for some deep inner work early in the month, and by the 21st you’ll be ready for a party in your honor. Whether or not anyone throws you one, find a party and declare it in your honor.
I have a friend who has a “NO DRAMA” tattoo. Guess what kind of relationships led her to choosing this permanent reminder? This month, I invite you to draw this same sentiment as a temporary tattoo on whichever hand you use when you’re reaching for trouble. With all the big feelings on display this month, you may find yourself as the calm in the center of the storm, listening and mediating for all you’re worth. Remember that you can always choose not to. Grown adults may be hot messes sometimes, but they are still grown adults. Instead of getting sucked in to any drama storms, center yourself in the kinds of mutually caring connections that help you learn more and grow closer to being that fiercely amazing being you already are on your best days.
If your July isn’t full of romance and excitement, it won’t be the fault of the stars. Venus moves into your sign on the 6th, charging you up with a little extra glitter and glamour, and the next day your ruling planet Mercury moves into Leo, sign of all things dramatically exuberant. Even if you’re having hella hard times right now, there will be some sparkles in the raindrops. As much as you can, tap into the confidence and playful creativity these aspects bring out in you, and help make someone else’s heart a little lighter. If you’re feeling less than amazing right now, remember that what you have to offer to your friends, sweethearts, and potential lovers is absolutely unique and 100% golden. Don’t get bogged down comparing yourself to anyone else — you’re the real deal.
This is a big time for you, and you could be riding major highs or aching through epic lows — or sometimes both. In one day. Whatever you’re handling, good or bad, it’s a lot! This month continues and intensifies the major themes of last month: taking risks in relationships, and better understanding what makes you want to freeze up, lash out, or run away. How vulnerable can you get in any given moment without making yourself genuinely unsafe? What’s the difference between feeling uncomfortable and being unsafe? If you can start to tease out these answers, all your relationships will benefit. You have a super power for loving people hard, and knowing how they feel even when they don’t. Turn those powers inward, when you have a moment, and love yourself hard through all the ups and downs. As long as you’re committed to learning and growth, any bumps in your relationships are welcome opportunities to go a little deeper.
What are you ready to let go of? Your high school love letters? Naked photos of your ex that are still on your phone a year later? The idea that you have to hide parts of yourself to be fully loved? Whatever it is you’re totally done with, now’s the time to release it back into the wilderness and let it find some other form. Prepare your home, your heart, your mind, and your attention for what’s coming next. With the New Moon in your sign on the 23rd, this is a time to plant the seeds for new ideas about what love can look like. Welcome new beginnings, renewed passion, and that sense of yourself as someone magical who deserves to be adored. Let go of any resentment, grief, or insecurity that you’re ready to part with as you make room for these new experiences.
We all need to feel we belong somewhere. Even the most solitary hermit feels connected to her home, to the plants and animals she shares silence with. Most of us need other humans, though, and need to feel that there are at least a few humans we get to call home. Heteronormativity puts a massive strain on these bonds, telling us that deep belonging only happens within a certain kind of couplehood — that if you haven’t found The One who’s going to heal all your wounds and love you the most for the rest of your lives, you’re somehow in exile. This month, you get to bust through that myth. Whatever kind of partnership you’re in or looking for, pay attention to your wider circle of friends, exes, family members, occasional lovers — all the people who hold a piece of your story. They may seem scattered, largely unavailable, or otherwise less than cohesive, but recognize the ways these people get to be your home. And if you’re in a hard spot right now where you’ve burned a lot of bridges (or been burnt real hard), take this time to call in the love you need from the wider world. You get to belong.
Good vibes continue for you this month, with only a little tension around the 5th when the Sun in Cancer squares Jupiter in your sign. Watch out that week for feeling at odds with the people you consider family, who may not approve of your optimistic and expansive ways right now — or, you could be feeling extra cautious while they egg you on to take big risks. Remember that just because something feels good doesn’t mean it’s good for you in the longterm — but this will be a month when it’s easy to feel good! Let yourself enjoy what comes your way and be nourished by beauty in all forms. Don’t get too drawn into solving other people’s problems right now. The best thing you can do for most of them this month is distract them into enjoying something beautiful with you.
Life hasn’t been feeling especially gentle for you, but this month could bring some much needed tenderness. Check your tendency to equate deep love with deep pain, intense responsibility, or crisis and high stakes. There is something softer, slower, and sweeter available to you right now if you take the time to call it in. All the emergencies can shush for a minute as you work out those tense knots in your psyche. If you’ve gotta go into hard situations this month, arm yourself with all the sweetness you can muster toward yourself and those you love. What you’re learning right now about how to hold yourself and others lightly will keep teaching you for years to come.
Your relationships this month look a little like a Rube Goldberg machine: a series of minor interactions that, if nudged just a little, can result in something incredible. As you make a few minor adjustments here and there (pause and change your tone of voice, listen a little harder to what’s happening, think before rushing into a new commitment), you’ll be surprised by what dramatic effects they can have a little later. You often trust implicitly that your good intentions and enthusiasm will carry you through, but you may be missing out on certain kinds of intimacy by not slowing down enough to notice the details and nuances. Rearrange a few small things about how you relate, and you could reap major rewards by the end of the month, when joy and connection will feel more effortless.
Let’s talk about how Capricorn energy is supposed to be some kind of uptight capitalist, monomaniacally focused on making that green. There is so much more going on, and one often overlooked angle is how erotically powerful Capricorns can be! The highest goal of any planet in Capricorn is to show up with stamina, integrity, and skill. Especially as the Full Moon on the 9th in your sign happens within a few degrees of Pluto, you are working with some major sex magic. Use it well! And if you’re able or interested in directing your energies towards sex, you can channel this same influence toward exploring the depths of your own relationship to pleasure, longing, and power through making art, doing ritual, or moving through some old trauma and finally releasing it. However you can, recognize that you have some powerful talents to share right now. In the best of all worlds, you’ll get to explore all kinds of ways to use them.
Whether or not you’re having sex right now — or even want to be — there’s something you need to examine this month about what it means to you. Maybe the best sex you’ve ever had is with yourself, or in your own mind, or with some stranger long ago where nothing ever got complicated — or maybe you prefer growing and learning with a steady partner, letting the intimacy between you take center stage. Chances are you’re still sorting out how attached you like to be to any lover, though. Aquarian energy, of all the signs, is the most interested in connections as peers who are part of a larger collective force — your sign is all about love, but it can feel impersonal and vast at times. What can this teach you about your current sexual desires and habits? Are you holding on too tight, or allowing so much distance your partner doesn’t feel held? Are you sure from day to day what’s in your best interest? Is there anything hard in your sexual history that you’re ready to fully release right now? Whatever you find as you explore these questions, know that you get to change, grow, and heal — and you get to pursue the pleasures, consensual or solo, that help you feel most alive and intact.
What’s the hottest thing you can imagine? How much mystery is involved? Would you rather a lover comes to you totally naked, or somehow veiled, harnessed, or leathered up? This month you’re learning about connection through containers — barriers that can be as literal as gloves and dental dams or as ephemeral as an unpsoken rule you have to obey when you make love. What kinds of containment can help you feel more free? How can being totally un-contained diffuse your focus and your desires? Sweet connections are possible for you right now, if you can step into a clear and focused understanding of what you really want. Dare to be a little selfish, and see what happens when you introduce some restrictions.
Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. And A+ members keep the majority of our site free for everyone. Still, 99.9% of our readers are not members. A+ membership starts at just $4/month. If you’re able to, will you join A+ and keep Autostraddle here and working for everyone?