Each year, the timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. This occurs annually on June 20 or June 21 in North America, depending on your time zone.
The word solstice is from the Latinsolstitium, from sol (sun) andstitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice).
In temperate regions, we notice that the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer. In the winter, just the opposite occurs: The Sun is at its southernmost point and is low in the sky. Its rays hit the Northern Hemisphere at an oblique angle, creating the feeble winter sunlight.
The Sun is directly overhead at its most northern point at "high-noon" on the summer solstice, creating more sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere on this day then any other. See your local Sun rise and set times—and how the day length changes!
The Uranus-Pluto opening square on June 24th is the first in a series of 7 alignments between the sky god Uranus and the god of the underworld, Pluto, between 2012 and 2015. At the end of 2015, we will be living in a very different world, one that has changed relatively rapidly compared to the prior pace of events. Uranus and Pluto are both change-oriented planets. Uranus moves quickly. In nature, Uranus is associated with lightening. And Pluto effects change from a deep level, from the substrata of our awareness. Pluto is associated with volcanoes – the sudden release of smoldering pressure that has been building over a long period of time. Both Uranus and Pluto are related to earthquakes – the shifting of the ground beneath us to accommodate new stresses.
We will see the radical changes played out on the world stage and in our own lives during the next 3 years.
Pluto in Capricorn will deconstruct governments, corporations and financial systems that are no longer honest, efficient, or serving the public good. Uranus in Aries will give voice to those whose anger with societal institutions has not been heeded. Uranian protests may seem disorganized or chaotic at first, but the energy expressed will give birth to new ideas to base our lives upon. Protests from without (Uranus) will meet the building pressure from within (Pluto) to radically and alchemically change the structure of the environment, social organization, even our bodies.
Just as the Depression Years gave rise to a reconstructed banking system because the previous one did not work, so too will we have an opportunity – for the next 3 years – to deconstruct and reconstruct those areas of our lives that are backward and do not function efficiently.
Ultimately, the changes will necessitate the break-up of rigid, unworkable patterns, to make way for a more enlightened way of living, for sharing with others and for living harmoniously on the planet. But before that can happen, what has been repressed has to be expressed. Then, a new and higher age can ascend.
We will be like trapeze artists who experience a moment of emptiness after we let go of one bar to take hold of another. We may experience a moment of not knowing, but it’s the only way forward. And without taking the risk, the show can’t go on.
The rare alignment between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn begins on June 24th, and continues on September 18th, 2012, May 20th, 2013, November 1st, 2013, April 21st, 2014, December 15th, 2014, and March 17th, 2015.
Has there ever been a Summer Solstice this intense? With the first exactitude (1) of the Uranus-Pluto square at the midpoint of the year flanked by a host of extraordinary supporting transits, we have entered the hot zone.
This is a cosmic heat wave that’s been rising since 1966, when Uranus and Pluto conjoined in the sky. We’re now at the first quarter of the cycle that began way back then. With this historic transit as the backdrop, on June 4 the dream-weaving planet, Neptune, stations retrograde under a Full Moon… which happens to be an Eclipse. The next day is a rare occultation of Venus (there won’t be another until 2117) (2). Through June 8 the Sun-Venus conjunction will square volatile Mars.
Then, on June 24, five days after the New Moon and four days after the Sun crosses the Cancer threshold, Uranus and Pluto click into the first of their seven exact 90-degree angles: the first such spike in a long crescendo. At the same time, Jupiter, fresh from its ingress into Gemini, squares Neptune in Pisces. Four days after that, on June 29, the Sun reaches the degree of the Uranus-Pluto square (3), closing out the month with a bang.
Why do astrologers pay special attention to scenarios like these? In general, when transits come all stacked up this way they reinforce each other, creating a force field that squeezes events into being. But as sky watchers know, this is not just any old stack of pancakes. This is the longest arm of the Cardinal Cross, the series of world-altering formations that puts 2012 on the astrological map (4).
Observers of the global scene have been watching the approach of the Uranus-Pluto square very carefully, aware that certain hot spots on the world map will be hit hard.
Under the crosshairs are a number of European countrieswith January 1 birthdays (5), which put their Sun at 10 degrees Capricorn, two degrees shy of the June 24 exactitude. Capricorn is the sign most vulnerable of all to the Cardinal Cross. And as astrologer Adrian Duncan has pointed out, the chart of the Euro—the beleaguered currency itself —has the Sun placed here (6); as will come as no surprise to anyone who’s been watching the dramas taking place across the Atlantic. Pluto, the planet of death/rebirth, has been harrying that Sun for the past four years like dogs after the fox.
The economies of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugalhave been careening in breakdown mode, with unemployment and immense debt threatening every aspect of their national infrastructure (Capricorn). France and the Netherlands are the most recent examples of EU countries whose economic woes have spread to the governmental level.
With the Euro on life support, some investors have fled to the US dollar. But no chart I have seen gets as potent a blow from current and upcoming transits as that of the USA (Sibly), whose own Sun-Saturn square joins with Uranus and Pluto to form a full Grand Cross, the most stressful configuration in astrology.
Uncle Sam is being hit right where it hurts. The aspect of its natal chart that receives the hit, Sun square Saturn, is associated by psychological astrologers with denial-buttressed self-doubt and inferiority complexes.
One sign of a major downgrade in America’s world status is the fevered rumor about the dollar being replaced by the yuan as the global standard (7). Obama’s discussions with the Chinese, intended to help Uncle Sam pay its out-of-control debt, may further strengthen the yuan’s primacy (8).
For its part, China, whose economy has quadrupled over the past ten years, is undergoing a global meaning shift that most Americans seem not to have integrated. (The China-bashing one hears in the mainstream media smacks of old-fashioned Cold War China-bashing; not yikes-we-could-actually-lose-the-superpower-crown China-bashing).
But geopolitical observers consider the rivalry between the USA and China to be one of the central dramas of our era. In breakneck industrialization mode, teeming with global consumers and possessed of virtually no debt, the immense Asian behemoth seems eager to accept the hyper-power baton from a beleaguered Uncle Sam.
Yet the transits suggest a more complicated picture. Under skies like these, the contest may have no winner. The chart for modern China (10-1-49, 3:15 pm Beijing) sustains a prolonged direct hit from the Uranus-Pluto square. The longest arm of the Cardinal Cross forms a T-square with China’s Libra cluster, with the Sun at the exact apex.
The economic model that China is following—which all modern civilizations have so far followed—presumes that growth is not merely part of the cycle, but its constant. In this view, growth is good, period, without qualification and without interruption. The USA, with Jupiter (increase, expansion) conjunct the Sun natally, epitomizes this philosophy. China is in fevered pursuit of the same brass ring.
A poignant symbol of the relationship between the two super-rivals hinges on the commodity that will soon be seen as the single most valuable resource in the world: water. China is importing fresh water from the Great Lakes by the millions of gallons.
The summer solstice transits indicate an extraordinary juncture point in time; a moment in history when a glimpse of the future is available. It is not that the transits promise to turn us into fortune-tellers; this isn’t about predicting specific events. It’s about discerning the meaning behind them.
MORE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SUMMER SEASON
* SUMMER SOLSTICE * June 20, 2012 – Longest day of the year.
* Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn * June 24, 2012 – Change is in the air – radical, revolutionary change.
*Jupiter in Gemini square Neptune in Pisces * June 25, 2012 – Intuition is heightened. Listen to your premonitions. Engage in spiritual practice.
* Saturn direct in Libra * June 25, 2012 – Best time to negotiate agreements.
* Venus direct in Gemini * June 27, 2012 – Peace and harmony restored.
* Mars enters Libra for 7 weeks after 8 months in Virgo * July 3, 2012 – Negotiations succeed.
* Uranus retrograde * July13, 2012 – Wheels of change grind to a halt.
* Mercury retrograde in Leo * July 14, 2012 – Look at situations from other people’s points of view to gain greater clarity.
* Mercury direct in Leo * August 7, 2012 – It’s okay to advocate for your own point of view.
* Mars enters Scorpio * August 23, 2012 – Take productive steps. Positive actions produce desired results.
* Pluto direct in Capricorn * September 17, 2012 – Revelations about government, politicians and business exposed.
* Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn * September 18, 2012 – Energy for change intensifies.
A NOTE ABOUT THE MAYAN CALENDAR
The Mayan Calendar characterizes the period we are living through as “Ik Manik,” which means winds of change, moving toward self-realization through self-knowledge. As predicted in Mayan prophecy, the winds of change are continuing to blow strongly in 2012. This heralds not only a purification so we may move to a higher dimension of consciousness, but the winds are being generated by a shift in the earth’s magnetic poles, as well as a reversal of the earth’s axis. These rare phenomena are expected to last for at least two to five years. Continue to pray and send positive energy to Mother Nature so the shift can be accomplished in the most supportive way possible for all life forms on Mother Earth.