July 2015 Astrology Forecast Highlights: Venus Retrograde

Astrology Forecast


July’s astrology highlights feature Venus turning retrograde, asking us to reflect on our relationships, creativity, finances and more. This midsummer month is bracketed by Full Moons in Capricorn and Aquarius, with a Cancer New Moon in the middle.

And do we have aspect patterns! There are three T-squares triggering the still-volatile Uranus-Pluto square, Grand Trines, a rare Thor’s Hammer Key and more!

I usually forecast two months out, but I feel like I’ve written two months’ worth of interpretations just for July. I hope you find these forecast highlights helpful. And be sure to subscribe to my semimonthly forecasts, where I go into much greater detail!

  • 7/1. Capricorn Full Moon
  • 7/9. T-square Peaks: Sun-Uranus-Pluto
  • 7/15. Cancer New Moon
  • 7/17. Grand Trine Peaks: Sun-Saturn-Chiron
  • 7/20. T-square Peaks: Mars-Uranus-Pluto
  • 7/22. Sun enters Leo
  • 7/22. Thor’s Hammer Key Begins: Vesta-Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto
  • 7/25. Venus Retrograde Begins
  • 7/26. Thor’s Hammer Peaks: Vesta-Jupiter-Saturn
  • 7/31. Grand Trine Peaks: Mars-Saturn-Chiron
  • 7/31. Aquarius Full Moon

The Story So Far

As July opens, we have six retrograde planets: Saturn thru 8/2, Pallas Athena thru 8/3, Ceres thru 9/14, Pluto thru 9/25, Neptune thru 11/18 and Chiron thru 11/28. And the pervasive energies of revolutionary transformation (a Uranus-Pluto square), as well as universal love, compassion and spiritual awakening (Neptune in Pisces), remain powerful for years to come!

Capricorn Full Moon

July opens with a Full Moon on 7/1 at 10:20 pm EDT (9°55′ Capricorn-Cancer). Capricorn Full Moons are great for evaluating and adjusting how you’re doing with responsibility, maturity, and discipline, as well as time management, planning and implementation. Be careful not to become too cold and unfeeling, or let the ends justify the means.


Pluto’s conjunction to the Moon invites the release of what no longer serves you, as well as the empowerment of what serves your evolution and transformation. Cancerian Mars opposes the Moon, adding passion, energy and drive and bringing the themes of family, home and security into the mix.

A tight sextile from Neptune opens a channel of intuitive knowing that you can draw upon, as well as divine peace and intuitive inspiration. And the Moon’s square to the Lunar Nodes and Vesta asks you to align your accomplishments with your life purpose and a higher calling.

Sabian Symbol

This Full Moon’s Sabian Symbol is, “An albatross feeding from the hand of a sailor.” (We’ll assume that the albatross is eating food being held in the sailor’s hand, rather than eating the hand itself!)

As Lynda Hill points out in her excellent book on the Sabian Symbols, 360 Degrees of Wisdom, this symbol can symbolize the mutual overcoming of fear. The wild albatross has to overcome its fear of being so close to a human in order to eat food out of his hand. Likewise, the sailor has to overcome his instinctive fear of being so close to a wild bird in order to feed it. The feeding of the bird also implies generosity and goodwill.

In what ways are you allowing fear to prevent you reaching out to connect with those you perceive to be different? How is this sabotaging the pleasure you would feel from extending such warmth to others?

Hill includes a wonderful quote from the Upanishads to illustrate this symbol: “Who sees all beings in his own Self, and his own Self and all beings, loses all fear.”

T-square: Sun-Uranus-Pluto

The separating (but still very much active) Uranus-Pluto square gets triggered three times in July! This is because the Sun, Mars and Mercury all pass through Cancer, and all form challenging T-squares to these outer planets of revolutionary transformation.

The Sun forms the first T-square with Uranus and Pluto on 7/5, peaks on 7/9 and wraps up on 7/14. The Sun represents the core of personality, so this is a great time to revolutionize and transform yourself. With the Sun in Cancer, you can also act as the agent for positive change in the areas of family, home and security.

T-square: Mars-Uranus-Pluto

No sooner does the Sun finish its Uranus-Pluto T-square than Mars fires up one of its own! The Martian rendition will be the longest and strongest of July’s three Uranus-Pluto T-squares. Uranus-Pluto T-square: Mars Edition starts on 7/14, peaks on 7/20 and ends on 7/27.

Revolutionary transformation is once again the core theme, but the warrior energy of Mars fires up this aspect pattern with a higher level of opportunity and volatility. Impulsiveness, anger and violence can erupt if these energies are not managed well.

Handled consciously, this T-square can inspire you to take immediate action on your intuitive flashes and embrace transformation enthusiastically. Cancerian Mars’ “just do it” energy can help you get the ball rolling with the changes that will best support your family, home and security.

Thor’s Hammer: Vesta-Jupiter-Saturn

Higher service and sacred sexuality are supported by a Thor’s Hammer featuring Vesta, Jupiter and Saturn. This aspect pattern begins on 7/14, peaks on 7/26 and ends on 8/17.

Vesta fundamentally represents service to a selfless cause, and is the focal planet of this Thor’s Hammer. Vesta can also carry the energy of sacred sexuality, which is energized by her placement in libidinous Aries.

Jupiter and Saturn are the social planets which influence how you interact with the world around you. Jupiter expands while Saturn contracts. A lovely balance of these energies can be maintained as both of them support Vesta in this aspect pattern.

Cancer New Moon

There’s a New Moon on 7/15 at 9:24 PM EDT (23°14′ Cancer). Cancer New Moons support fresh beginnings or renewed energy in the areas of family, home, security and nurturing.


This New Moon loosely conjoins Mars and Mercury. While not a major influence, this does add some energy of initiation, leadership, learning and intitiation to the New Moon energy.

Of greater significance is the Grand Trine formed by the luminaries, Scorpionic Saturn and Piscean Chiron. This flowing aspect pattern creates a solid foundation for healing, mentoring, and transformation. Because Grand Trines act best when acted upon, take initiative in these areas to receive the most benefit from this laid-back equilateral triangle.

This lunation’s other aspect will make itself known whether you want it to or not: a strong square from Uranus. Uranus will serve you best when you embody the authentic human personality you came to be, follow your intuitive flashes, and serve the collective with your special gifts. If you don’t, it can draw these shortcomings to your attention with electrical phenomena such as nervousness, irritability, anxiety and chaotic life circumstances.

Sabian Symbol

This New Moon’s Sabian Symbol is, “A woman and two men (or a man and two women) cast away on a small island.” This situation could be like paradise with highly evolved people and a hospitable isle. But a more likely outcome is two-against-one power dynamics and a feeling of being trapped.

This symbol invites us to examine any relationship triangles we’re currently involved in, especially those that are going to be around for a while. If they’re going great, is there something you can do to make them even more wonderful? If challenges are arising, is it appropriate to seek change from one of the other parties? Perhaps most importantly, is there healing or awareness work you can do within yourself that would help harmonize the situation?

T-square: Mercury-Uranus-Pluto

July’s third and final Uranus-Pluto T-square is instigated by Cancerian Mercury. This stimulation of revolutionary transformation is the briefest of the three, beginning on 7/16, peaking on 7/17 and ending on 7/19.

This T-square’s effects could go virtually unnoticed, since it’s buried in the midst of the more powerful Mars-Uranus-Pluto T-square. But Mercury’s T-square is still a great opportunity to challenge your old ways of thinking and receive fresh insights and inspirations.

You may also feel called to share a transformative or unconventional truth. If so, use the current Martian energy (Mars and Mercury are conjunct in Cancer) to inspire your courageous action. It may not serve your cause to embody the low side of Mars by delivering your message with anger or excessive aggression.

Grand Trine: Sun-Saturn-Chiron

A Grand Trine formed by the Cancerian Sun, Scorpionic Saturn and Piscean Chiron begins on 7/13, peaks on 7/17 and ends on 7/22. I already interpreted this aspect pattern while discussing the Cancer New Moon on 7/15. For your convenience, I’ll repeat my (slightly edited) interpretation here:

Many supportive outcomes can be harvested from this Grand Trine. Healing and mentoring within the family structure can proceed more smoothly, and the family structure itself can enjoy more stability. In fact, nurturing and security are more available in general.

Grand Trines connect easily, but can also be taken for granted. “Mine your trines” with solid planning, intention and implementation to reap the most bountiful harvest!

The Sun enters Leo on 7/22 at 11:30 PM EDT. This radiates the energy of the sovereign, the performer in the spotlight and speculation. Leo’s archetypal meanings also include risk-taking, children, play, and rest and relaxation.

Thor’s Hammer: Vesta-Jupiter-Pluto
Thor’s Hammer Key: Vesta-Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto

Thor may only have one hammer in the Marvel Universe, but our universe currently has two! A second Thor’s Hammer aspect pattern (Vesta-Jupiter-Pluto) fires up on 7/22 to join the first one (Vesta-Jupiter-Saturn) that started on 7/14. The new Thor’s Hammer with Pluto peaks on 8/2, and both aspect patterns end on 8/17.

Since these Thor’s hammer’s share two out of three planets (Vesta and Jupiter), it really doesn’t make sense to interpret them separately. Therefore we’ll consider this as a four-planet aspect pattern called a Thor’s Hammer Key.

The basic meaning of the original Vesta-Jupiter-Saturn Thor’s Hammer remains unchanged: higher service and sacred sexuality. Because Pluto and Vesta share the theme of sacred sexuality, the Tantric potential of this aspect pattern is greatly strengthened.

The basic idea of Tantric or sacred sex is that you’re making love with more than just your physical bodies. When both partners can maintain divine consciousness during loveplay, bliss is vastly magnified.

When all you know is sex experienced with the five physical senses, it can certainly seem wonderful. But it looks like a grainy black-and-white movie when compared to the dazzling 3-D ecstasy of multidimensional sacred sexual connection!

From a different perspective, Pluto’s presence in this Thor’s Hammer Key suggests that surrender can play a key role in your higher service. Higher service can be more than just a few hours of volunteer work here and there. A genuine higher calling can rise to the level of sacred service, and can even become your main reason for living.

In this context, surrender means letting go of the things in your life that are not necessary, and are not in alignment with your sacred service. Of course, the ego may want to cling to its comfort zone and its customary pleasures. But making more time for that which truly feeds your soul will ultimately provide far greater pleasure. It will also open the door for a precious Plutonian gift – transpersonal power – which increases in proportion to your surrendered, intuitively guided service.

Grand Trine: Mars-Saturn-Chiron

The basic meaning of the Sun-Saturn-Chiron Grand Trine (7/13 through 7/22) is reinvigorated as Mars takes the Sun’s place in this aspect pattern on 7/24. This Mars-Saturn-Chiron Grand Trine will peak on 7/31 and end on 8/6.

As before, this flowing aspect pattern creates a solid foundation for healing, mentoring, and transformation. Because Grand Trines act best when acted upon, take initiative in these areas to receive the most benefit from this laid-back aspect pattern.

Of course, Mars likes nothing better than to take immediate action, so his presence can make it easier for you to get the ball rolling! Martian energy also opens the door to heal sexual issues and conquer procrastination.

Venus Retrograde

Venus turns retrograde on 7/25 (5:29 am EDT, 0°46′ Virgo) and turns direct again on 9/6 (14°23′ Leo). At the most obvious level, Venus’ six-week retrograde is a time for reflection on her main archetypal themes: relationships, creativity, finances, your tastes and what you love.

In general, a retrograde period is a better time to contemplate than to take action. But life doesn’t always let us time our actions to the optimal astrological alignments. If something Venusian obviously needs to get done during Venus retrograde, do what you must!

Venus spends the first week of her retrograde, 7/25 thru 7/31, in Virgo. This is an ideal time to scrutinize the Venusian themes listed above under a microscope. These could include: is there a strong and appropriate service element in your relationships? Is excessive perfectionism stifling your creativity? Are you paying enough attention to your finances?

While Venus backpedals in Leo, 7/31 through 9/6, consider how you’re getting your creativity out into the world. Also look at whether your relationships are really based on equality, or if one of you is inappropriately dominant.

Aquarius Full Moon

July’s second Full Moon illuminates the sky on 7/31 at 6:43 AM EDT (7°55′ Aquarius). Aquarius has three major high-side expressions: “letting your freak flag fly” (authentic egoic expression in the world), following intuitive flashes (“gut feelings”), and experiencing the transcendent joy of serving others with your greatest talents. If you’re not fully on track in any of these areas, this is a great time to make appropriate adjustments.


This Full Moon’s strongest aspect is a very tight conjunction to the Part of Fortune. The more you embrace the Aquarian prescriptions above, the luckier you’ll get!
A loose conjunction to Ceres opens the door to potential prosperity. It also raises the issue of self-esteem: are you confident enough in your human identity to show the world the real you?

A trine to the North Node suggests a greater ease in connecting with your life purpose. (Always easier when you let the real you shine forth and follow your intuitive flashes!) And a tight semi-sextile to Neptune shows that some application of effort can give you a deeper connection to your divine flow and awakened consciousness.

Sabian Symbol

This Full Moon’s Sabian Symbol is, “Beautiful gowned wax figures on display.” While such figures may showcase popular ideas of beauty, the fact that the beautiful gowns are on wax dummies delivers an important message: there’s no life here! For an authentic person, to conform to society’s idea of beauty would be to kill off the authentic, one-of-a-kind beauty that they embody.

Aquarius equates beauty with authenticity. We are fortunate to live in a time when that which used to be condemned, such as homosexuality and transgenderism, is now being popularly accepted. Embracing your uniqueness, however subtle or obvious it may be, can help you enjoy greater happiness and vitality. Don’t be another dead wax figure wearing clothes that others adulate. Let the real you shine!

Void-of-Course Moons

It’s best to avoid starting important new projects or making major purchases during these times. “Business as usual” is the best strategy for these periods, which occur when the Moon has made its last major Ptolemaic aspect but has not yet moved into the next sign.

  • 7/3, 6:37:32 am – 8:20:44 am (Aquarius)
  • 7/5, 8:31:27 am – 10:22:53 am (Pisces)7/7, 10:35:52 am – 12:37:25 pm (Aries)
  • 7/9, 9:46:43 am – 3:49:24 pm (Taurus)
  • 7/11, 5:51:59 pm – 8:16:07 pm (Gemini)
  • 7/13, 11:31:17 pm – 7/14, 2:13:59 am (Cancer)
  • 7/16, 7:24:06 am – 10:14:53 am (Leo)
  • 7/18, 5:41:14 pm – 8:46:42 pm (Virgo)
  • 7/21, 6:06:28 am – 9:22:40 am (Libra)
  • 7/23, 2:11:55 pm – 10:06:57 pm (Scorpio)
  • 7/26, 5:14:24 am – 8:24:20 am (Sagittarius)
  • 7/28, 9:36:30 am – 2:47:25 pm (Capricorn)
  • 7/30, 2:49:56 pm – 5:40:01 pm (Aquarius)

Semimonthly Forecasts

Check back around the 1st and 15th for updated forecasts.

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Whatever your Sun Sign, Benjamin’s forecasts can help you make the best use of the current astrological energies.

All dates and times are in the U.S. eastern time zone. Events are most powerful on the dates listed, but their influence will be active for at least several days before and after.

Everyone is affected by these global transits. However, you will be most powerfully impacted when moving planets activate sensitive points in your natal chart.


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