All My Trials

Galaktotrofusa icon, ca. 1784.

THE MATERNAL BODY INCLUDES THE CHILD. The maternal body includes the dilated aura inside and outside the body that admits, and nourishes, another: thus it is also the enveloping aura into which consensual lovers are welcomed. And the magic space that is ripped open when thieves enter looking for easy wealth and plunder. The cultures now ruling the planet treat it similarly.

Textbook medical astrology will tell you Cancer rules the breasts/chest, the stomach, and the alimentary canal. Which, it seems to me, would include not only what extends from the buccal opening but also our first channel for nourishment, from our mothers to our navels, our very centers. We grow in a woman by grace and by her choice. The maternal structure, more abused and occulted than any other, remains the central power on this planet. And until you bring me a child without a belly button, the maternal body will remain the center of the world. We have difficulty thinking this. Our philosophies have scarcely begun to attempt genuinely and profoundly to meditate upon this fact. No amount of violence committed against the land or against the maternal body, not for millennia, has succeeded in disrupting this fundamental order. And nothing will.

Associated with domesticity & comfort, an appreciation for the past lives and past histories of objects and furnishings and people, basic empathy, the mysterious physical-psychical connection between the maternal body and the child, Cancer’s most defining quality is the way it loves: the sacred unreciprocatability of the maternal gift.

Today’s New Moon in Cancer & tomorrow’s partial Solar Eclipse, the gates of initiation for this summer’s Eclipse Season, are born in harsh opposition to atomic and unforgiving Pluto in Capricorn. Pluto rules the underworld of our worst fears, past traumas, greatest shames, and deepest insecurities. It is likewise the flooded cave (more about rain and water when I discuss the current Grand Water Trine below) out of which the Thai youth soccer team, the Wild Boars, & their coach were rescued, with a little help from Jupiter’s move direct in Scorpio, which, like Pluto, its ruler, represents dark and hidden places.

The sobs of children caged by ICE have been rolling redly through everyone I know, these weeks. We sleep and wake in and out of the metastasizing fact, and its umbilical connection to the entire carceral apparatus, as though we are all being reborn into an ever-deepening nightmare. And yet it is all strangely bright and etched: in all this grief, there is a sensation—almost like a hardening muscle—that we can win. That we must.

A Grand Water Trine among the conjunct Sun and Moon, Neptune in Pisces, and Jupiter in Scorpio (having completed his retrograde) signals our planet awash in waves of high emotion—and, make no mistake, in empathy. When astrologers talk of water, we are talking about feeling. Between the clouds and the waters, the moon pulling the tides & regulating our menses, this blue planet is quite actually clothed in feeling. Jupiter in Scorpio is a wonderful leader & regulator of this sea. He brings great buoyancy, a gift for finding the healing in the midst of catastrophe that is sort of like entrepreneurial genius. If you are feeling at sea, make Jupiter your captain.

Like my Seventh Grade woodshop teacher used to say, WHEN YOU’RE GOING THROUGH HELL, KEEP GOING. Jupiter in Scorpio is also a big reminder that in order to get out of a bad situation, it’s also really important to keep yourself together. What good is rescue if, by the time it arrives, you have lost your mind, given up your dignity, capitulated to your nightmare? That team of twelve adolescent boys and their coach, like a little zodiac of their own, could have been more like wild boars than human beings, could have devolved along the lines the demented cannibals of the Wreck of the Medusa, by the time their rescuers arrived. But they didn’t. This was a useful miracle for the vulnerable of this world. And as the convulsions and hells seem to multiply, from outrage against austerity in ravaged and indestructible Haiti to the rape of the land itself, our steadiest foundation may be a commitment to the miraculous.

Oh, and Venus, newly in Virgo, is riding prim and ladylike on a Grand Earth Trine that includes Saturn, right at home in Capricorn, and Uranus in Taurus, is here for the elegant solution. If the logic you’re using is convoluted—or tortured, to use the apt word of Federal Judge Dolly Gee—drop it. When faced with a decision to make and unsure what to choose, go with the elegant solution.

It is as though the sky were saying, fuck the possible. The real is much much bigger than the merely possible. Pluto’s black light is irradiating our illusions. Today’s carceral nightmare, its open war on women, people of color, and queers was a gradual process of policy. For some, this hell used to be more ignorable. We should be grateful it has been dredged up into the light.

ON JULY 27, the Full Moon & Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, conjunct retrograde Mars & in a tight T-Square with Uranus in Taurus to Neptune in Pisces, may have you longing to escape. It’s a good night to do so, but if you’re someone for whom substances & artificial paradises are an issue, a little forethought to pad your cell, so to speak, will make your binge—whether it’s pizza or shopping or sex or bad tv—more of a renewal than a night of unintended—and inescapable consequences. Aquarius is the internet and the social order and I don’t blame you if you find yourself wanting out of both. But with midterm elections coming up in the United States, the collapse of Brexit in the offing, major upheavals across the Caribbean and Latin America (and Turkey and China and also your guts), I would encourage you to employ all the gentle means of staying with yourself. Whether that’s refusing to skimp on your self-care routine, or exploring the many opportunities to meditate, process, and pray that the contemporary creative scene offers, do it.

Because neither of this month’s major lunations are easy ones. The shit is as cray up there as it feels down here. Mercury goes retrograde in Leo on July 25 until August 18, making the effort to speak your heart that much harder, aside from the usual Mercury Retrograde stuff, try not to be electronics or sign paperwork or book complicated travel, you know the drill. We will probably all put our feet in our mouths at one point or another during this period.

So, a few last things to hold onto.

What is revolutionary in these times is simple and wholesome. Stay with that for now. It will continue to be the simple and the wholesome that we see attacked and punished. Chaos will keep coming on all fronts, but the confusion the tyrants create is only apparent, and chaos creates opportunity. Clarity is actually not that hard. You can do it.

Théodore Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa, 1818–19, oil on canvas, 16' 1“ x 23' 6”.
(Shit will hit the fan. You can do better than these people.)

Ariana Reines is a poet & playwright. She astrologizes at