Astrology Column

Belinda Dunn is a professional astrologer, trained at The Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago, and has more than 35 years experience. See her bio and contact info at the end of this column.

<b>What's UP: July 2014</b>

Mercury Direct
July 1 @ 8:50 a.m.

Cancer/Capricorn Full Moon
July 12 @ 7:25 a.m.

Leo New Moon
July 26 @ 6:42 p.m.

A month characterized by weighing of options, indecision and delay, July gives way to movement as Mercury begins a direct phase on the 1st.

Mercury Helps Us Gain Perspective
Take a moment to consider and clarify the information and insight you gathered during Mercury’s retrograde period as it provides momentum and meaning for the remainder of summer months.

There is a purpose in Mercury’s retrograde period. While mechanical and technical difficulties can be frustrating and tiresome, Mercury slows mental processes long enough to gain perspective, complete projects and restore significant links in communication within one’s inner self as well as relationships.

Mercury goes direct in Gemini, the zodiac sign of networking and exchange of information. Decisions that have been held in check are easier to make as July unfolds.

On July 4, Independence Day, the Sun opposes Pluto. Fireworks will fly in many directions, but Pluto will cast a somber tone over festivities, and the overall mood may be rebellious and insincere as the trend continues through July 8.

The celebration of America’s 238th birthday cannot help but bring up questions around leadership, patriotism, history and the country’s future direction. Other days to be aware of are: July 21-24, 27-29.

July is the key pivotal month of 2014
Many planetary influences and their resultant conditions this month approach completion, and there is a sense of moving into new territory. This is due to four important planetary players.

Mars completes a 7-month sojourn in Libra, Saturn in Scorpio goes direct on July 20, Uranus in Aries goes retrograde on July 21, and Jupiter enters Leo on July 16. Let’s consider each of these planetary influences one by one.

I have written extensively about Mars in Libra. For seven months relationships have been the uppermost focus. So far, it has been a year of passionate bonding with significant people in your life, while taking a step back with relationships that no longer serve.

Some relationships have distanced and dissolved while other key players have emerged into your field of vision.

As Mars joins the North Lunar Node in Libra on July 12, this is like icing on the cake in all relationships that have reached a harmonious compromise.

Good Relationships Require Skill & Self Awareness
Relationships are a fascinating and vital part of being human, and there is a tendency to take relationship skills for granted as something that everyone naturally knows.

However, it doesn’t take much to realize that most people struggle with relating, and this can be at the core of suffering and disillusionment.

The desire to bond deeply with another can meet with need, habit, programming and vast differences in point of view. A quick scan of the self-help bookshelf will demonstrate that people are seeking more awareness and skill in this essential area of human experience.

The topic of relationship brings us to Scorpio. This zodiac sign of connection covers all ends of the spectrum of deep and intense bonding. While Scorpio is generally considered the zodiac sign of sexuality, it also covers intimacy at all stages of life.

From the very beginning of human life, as sperm meets the egg, to the last breath, when one meets and returns to their Creator, Scorpio is there at the forefront of life’s mystery.

Saturn has been in Scorpio skies since October 2012, and retrograde since March 2. Recent years, and especially through the spring months, many of us have been forced to take a good look inside, and shine the light of conscious, self-awareness into the shadows of fear, trauma, resistance and control.

Scorpio always provides potent medicine for the soul to seek the cleansing waters of forgiveness, release old baggage, and choose lightness of being.

From Years of Humbling to New Horizons
As Saturn goes direct mid-month, more than likely, we will see signs of being able to move forward based on the past several years of Saturn’s deep, probing, surrendering and humbling transit through Scorpio. By year’s end, Saturn will enter Sagittarius, so this is the time to wrap up Scorpio themes, and receive clarity based on what has been released, forgiven and transcended.

Increasingly, it will be possible to accept a higher purpose in these deeply introspective years as Sagittarius elevates consciousness on higher ground to soar into new horizons.

A fascinating planetary dynamic activates the second half of July. With Saturn propelling us forward, Uranus in Aries says, "No, not so quick... there are still issues in self expression that need to be refined and considered."

Uranus in Aries (2011-18) encourages independence, radical self acceptance, and departure from mediocrity and normality. These times insist on a courageous break from old programming and the current cultural paradigm. In order to be honest, spontaneous and free, there is the discovery of self in a new way.

Willingness to Move Forward
Throughout July, Saturn and Uranus are in stressful and challenging contradiction. Saturn represents tradition, the so-called "tried and true" from a social standpoint. Uranus represents departure from the norm, a keen knowing that direction and answers emerge in exploration. There are no shortcuts around this contradiction.

What is breaking down has outlived its usefulness. Those people keeping an optimistic eye on innovation are in the position to truly contribute to a new world arising from the ashes of destruction.

Home Space Self Nurturing
To finish off the month, let’s consider the giant of the solar system, Jupiter. Over the past year, Jupiter has been transiting through the zodiac sign of Cancer, driving people to find safety and security within and without. Amidst the intensity, Jupiter has been insisting on finding nourishment.

In many respects, it has been a year of nesting, resting and making peace with family, home and environment. For my more outgoing clients, I have found them calling and asking if they are OK as they are used to being more external in their calling and life expression. I assure them that the current trends have been for a return to instinctual self-care.

The past year of getting back to basics, and more rooted in daily life, provides an important steppingstone for the upcoming 12 months. On July 16, Jupiter enters the next zodiac sign of Leo.

For those sensitive to energy, a significant shift will be felt. Leo is radiant fire, volatile, dramatic and intense in its expression. On July 22, the Sun enters Leo for its annual transit, joining Jupiter on the 24th and together they engage the New Moon on July 26.

New Moon & Grand Cross
The joining of Jupiter with a Leo New Moon has tremendous potential for goodwill, surges in optimism and humanitarian action. However, Jupiter has a down side. Its expansive influence can fan the flames of entitlement, aggrandizement, power and authority.

Those in positions of leadership may be tempted to take control and dictate their agendas rather than keeping the good of all in mind and heart. Watch late July for themes of this nature that tend to continue into August.

Besides the weather, another factor that turns up the heat in July is the Grand Cross/Cardinal Climax planetary configuration. Sun, Mercury and Venus all take a turn in transiting over the destabilizing alignment of Uranus and Pluto (2010-15).

While this is a long-term pattern, a faster moving planet can activate the configuration and re-energize stressful conditions. Since 2010, this alignment has pointed to the necessity to remodel one’s life more in congruence with current social and world conditions.

Maintaining security in an unstable economy, dwindling opportunity, lack of trust in leadership, disgust with congress, serious conflict on the world stage . . . the list goes on.

Game Changing Month
To conclude, events in July are game changers. On one hand, a look in the rear view mirror will show a variety of circumstances quickly receding in our personal lives and collective experience. On the other hand, don’t spend too much time looking back.

There are plenty of hurdles to stay focused upon as humanity rushes full force down the highway of social transformation. And, in the meantime, find a quiet respite beside cool waters and enjoy this extraordinary time of year.

Belinda C. Dunn is a professional astrologer with over 35 years experience. She is available by phone/skype and in person. Cell: 828-215-2101 -