July’s Solar Eclipse in Cancer is unusual for a number of reasons, all of which I outline in more detail below. In a nutshell, though, the best way to view this eclipse is as a cleansing prelude to the main event: a second solar eclipse on August the 11th. Use the next 4 weeks like a cosmic broom to sweep up your end of the street so that you’re ready for the next chapter, come next month.


The second solar eclipse of 2018 will be a partial occultation and take place at the New Moon in Cancer on 13 July 2018 at 03h47 GMT (04h47 SAST). 

This particular event is rather unusual for a number of reasons:

  • Firstly, it occurs close to the south pole, so will only be visible from the southernmost reaches of Australia. It also doesn’t last for very long either – just under 3 hours.  This should give us a clue as to its nature – obscure and short-lived. Not only will most of its impact remain hidden and out of sight, but it will also be a relatively fleeting and therefore ephemeral affair.
  • Rather than six months, this eclipse cycle only lasts a month before we press the reset button again at the Leo Solar Eclipse on August the 11th. Although short, this particular soli-lunar cycle packs a powerful punch, thanks to the involvement of potent Pluto, which is certain to ramp up the drama and intensity levels. (You can read more about Pluto’s influence in the ‘Aspects’ section below).
  • It happens on Friday the 13th, which is also associated with an eclipse. Read my astro-insights blogpost to find out more.
  • It’s meaning may not at first be obvious…Although solar eclipses generally signal beginnings, this one, with it’s firm emphasis on Pluto, is in many ways more about endings – but… endings that lead to new beginnings. Think reinvention, rebirth and reform – the Fallen Tower in the Tarot or the Phoenix rising from the ashes of the old – and you get the idea.  So even though the energy around this event may not be easy, it does contain within it the seeds of healing and transformation.

Like a snake shedding its skin, you get exactly one lunar month from July the 13th in which to offload some major psychic baggage before the next six month cycle begins in August.

So what type of energy/changes are we talking about? Well, the sign of this eclipse offers us some vital clues…


The July 13 eclipse takes place in Cancer. A cardinal water sign, the Crab is all about emotion, feeling, nurturing, raising/caring for others and being cared for. It is also about belonging, so close relationships and dynamics with members of your ‘tribe’ are likely to loom large.

Other key themes associated with Cancer include:

  • Food, nourishment and cooking
  • Home, lifestyle and domestic arrangements
  • Childhood, motherhood, conception and birth
  • Habits, unconscious patterns/psychodynamics, instinctual reactions
  • Emotional security, protection of loved ones/self, security of your home

The last time we experienced any solar eclipses in this sign was between 2009 and 2011, so you may want to cast your mind back to July 2009, 10 and 11 to see if you can find any parallels with situations now. If you need a quick reminder of the astrology of these events, then visit my eclipse chronology page.

Sabian Symbol

This eclipse occurs around the 21st degree of Cancer. The Sabian Symbol for this degree is:


Now, clearly somebody who gets to be the leading lady in an opera is obviously very talented and so probably deserves to be given centre stage. However, we also know that prima donnas can also be diva’s who always expect special treatment and don’t like to be ignored…

The suggestion here is that although you  – or someone close to you – may demand, even deserve, to have their moment in the sun; it doesn’t mean that you/they get to stay there permanently, or that they should hog all the limelight when there may be others equally worthy who should share the credit.

In family units, there is often one person who tends to need more attention and care than others – they either tend to be a bit of a drama queen or someone who injures themselves a lot, is always sick or constantly gets into trouble.  It may be worth considering how this person may be upsetting the group dynamics and whether it is time to put some boundaries in place to prevent them from constantly being an energy drain and creating an imbalance within the group.

The Sabian Oracle therefore gives the following keywords as starting points for meditations on this particular degree:

Keywords: Powerful voice. Emotional dramatizations. Talent. Taking center stage. Messages that need to be heard for social reasons. Playing out the myths of society. Makeup, hairstyles, wigs and costumes. Feeling important and special. Singing and performing. Opera and drama. Fame and fortune. Charisma and presence. Commanding attention. Having control and good timing. Flowers or brickbats. Years and years of training or improvising on the spot.

The Caution: Overplaying one’s role. Displaying noisily. Driving people to distraction. Refusing to keep quiet. Demanding to be heard. Wanting everyone to listen. Overreacting. Throwing tantrums. Not knowing when to stop. Passions worn on the sleeve. Showing off.

Astrological chart

Key Aspects

As I mentioned earlier, this particular solar eclipse carries with it some fairly heavy and intense energy due to the fact that it occurs opposite Pluto in Capricorn.

Pluto is very often about power – both its positive use = empowerment, survival instincts; and it’s abuse = think manipulation, control and/or bullying. Pluto can also symbolise hidden/unspoken trauma or deeply buried anger, especially if a part of you felt powerless to do anything to protect yourself from being hurt or abused at the time.

Now, this opposition occurs in the signs associated with the archetypal mother (Cancer) and father (Capricorn). Reinforcing this theme are the Sun and Moon which in natal psychological astrology, represent the primary masculine and feminine influences in our early lives – namely, our parents.

If we consider that the opposition aspect/relationship (via the 180 degree aspect with the luminaries) = involves an element of polarity, then it is easy to see how this particular eclipse may highlight some form of conflict, tension or power struggle that has its roots in an old family dynamic.

Now Pluto is retrograde, which generally tends to internalize situations, making it seem less likely that this eclipse will manifest in external confrontations with a literal parent (although we can’t entirely rule this out) and more about the need to deal with (and hopefully transmute) an inner dynamic.

Put another way, an opposition aspect often points for the need for balance/reconciliation between warring/split/polarised parts of yourself. These parts identify with your father (Sun),  your mother (Moon), or they may involve coping mechanisms you developed in order to survive or triumph over bullying, manipulation, a critical illness or an unconscious forms of control (Pluto).

Pluto is also about release, transmutation, purging and catharsis – think of a volcano and of lava from deep beneath the earth rising to the surface and pouring out, cooling and then transforming into something hardwearing, useful and often fertile. So what we are really talking about here is soul healing or inner alchemy – transforming emotional and psychic lead into nuggets of gold.

So, in a nutshell, this aspect suggests a major personal crisis which ultimately leads to positive changes.

What’s more, resisting change now is probably futile – what crops up will have a certain inevitability about it, or will be beyond your control.  What’s important is to surrender to what happens and trust that the process will eventually have a positive outcome. The more you cling to the past/status quo, the harder and more traumatic this situation is likely to be for you.

How? My advice would be to set your intentions at the New Moon to identify what it is that needs to be released and then find constructive ways of resolving it releasing it in a way that prevents it from happening again but also doesn’t hurt anyone, displace the energy or amplify it any further.

Of course, this process will be different for everybody, but I generally find it helps to ritualize things – devise some form of ceremony in which you symbolically acknowledge the problem, such as writing it down, drawing it, or singing about it; and then symbolically release it by burning it/throwing it in the sea/deleting it or whatever seems appropriate. If you feel it is too big to deal with on your own, then find a reputable and trustworthy soul healer or therapist who can help you.

The key is to own it and not let it control you. But once you have dealt with it, then let it go and allow Fate to do its work.

Deep breath and good luck!

Fixed Stars

At the time of the eclipse, the Sun and Moon will be conjunct the fixed star CASTOR, which is one of the Alpha stars in the constellation of Gemini. (This is because of precession).

Now although this star has conventionally been associated with a fear of disaster, as well as intellectual brilliance coupled with a loss of face, I tend to be a little less extreme/fatalistic in my views, seeing this combination as being about the need to balance the dissemination of information/communication  – a traditionally head-based activity – with the sensitivity and warmth of the heart, which is more Cancerian in nature. Think of the nurturing mother figure who has to discipline her children but in a way that is firm but kind.

Bernadette Brady offers us another interpretation. According to her:

This star is one of twins, its brother being Pollux. These two stars are the classic twins of the heavens and represent the essence of the universal struggle with polarity. Castor and Pollux seem, because of the constant challenge of struggling with polarities, to produce writers. Castor and Pollux are probably not about writing per se, but speak rather of the successful story-teller who has a knowledge of mixing good and evil, over-lapping them with each other until both are changed and both are whole. With Castor as the active star, you will seek the bright side of the story or situation. You are aware of the polarity but lean towards the positive pole. You are able to explore ideas and express yourself without the constant need to examine or take into account the shadowy side of the issue.

When paired with the Moon, Brady suggests that one weave one’s storytelling with kindness and humour, thereby adding a more heart-based element to what might otherwise be a fairly dry and intellectual exercise.

Saros Series

The Cancer eclipse forms part of the Brady’s 2 Old North Saros series (Van den Berg 117), which she sees as being concerned with relationships, and more particularly with separations or the ending of unions. If we consider what we have already learned about the polarity/conflict aspect of this event, then this does not seem beyond the realms of possibility.

Sometimes we need to walk away from a situation or person who hurts, abuses or takes advantage of us in some way, especially if that person has no interest in reforming their ways. Abuse, both physical or sexual, by a parent, for example, both constitute an indisputable reason to terminate a key familial relationship.

So although difficult, even traumatic, the situation also has an upside. From good comes bad, so to speak. We can see that most clearly in the biographies of two leaders whose lives were both profoundly marked by eclipses from this Saros series: Prince William and Nelson Mandela. The former, born on the day of an eclipse in Cancer from this series, was deeply affected by the death of his mother and the divorce of his parents; but ultimately, from his experiences has come a reform of the monarchy and a far more rigid, less Capricornian approach to marriages (William chose to marriage a commoner for love rather than form a dynastic union with someone from his own class) and the way royal children are brought up.

Another sun Cancer, Nelson Mandela, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island (which literally severed his ties with mainland South Africa, and separated him from his wife, Winnie Mandela) under terrorism charges during an eclipse in the 2 Old North series in 1964. But as a result, he became an icon of resistance against political oppression which eventually made him into a hero. As a result, he went on to become South Africa’s first democratically-elected President in 1994 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

So, no matter how black the clouds, remember that there is a silver lining with this Saros series.

Past Precedent

This group of eclipses first began in the year 792 CE/AD and will end in around 2054 (and not 2036 as previously thought). More recent solar eclipses in this series occurred in 1910, 1928, 1946, 1964, 1982 and 2000.

Geographical position

This particular solar eclipse occurs quite close to the south node, which means that it will only be visible in: southern Australia  and parts of Antarctica.

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