July 2014: Good as Gold
July is the month when Jupiter changes signs to Leo. Jupiter takes about 12 years to go around the Sun, so it spends about a year in each sign. It's been in Cancer since last summer, and what a time it's been. During this phase, we've lived through some genuinely challenging astrology that is, as I write, letting go of its grip. That's happening exactly while you may be finally getting a grip.
Jupiter is what's called "exalted" in the sign Cancer, meaning that it's a very strong placement, which I believe has offered protection from what otherwise could have been considerably more difficult. One of Jupiter's roles in the solar system is to attract inbound objects such as comets and little asteroids, which prevents them from hitting the Earth. Jupiter can work a similar way in astrology.
Jupiter in Cancer also has been about guiding us in the direction of keeping matters focused on an emotional level. That's a fine line to walk in a world that tends to deny feelings and create situations where it seems like vulnerability is dangerous or impossible. Then, as much as people claim to want others to be present in their feelings, or even to express them, they can get just as freaked out when they meet someone who actually does that.
Now Jupiter is about to change signs, from water sign Cancer to fire sign Leo. This happens July 16, with another peak soon after on July 24, when the Sun makes its one and only conjunction to Jupiter in Leo for this cycle. Now is the time to adjust to the new environment, drink up this rare energy with every cell in your body, and put it to creative use.
In my perception, the core message of Jupiter in Leo is about focusing on self-esteem. This is directly related to courage. It's my observation that the most troubling spiritual crisis of our society and our time in history involves self-esteem, which you might think of as self-respect (which I will do my best to demonstrate is really about cultivating a healthy relationship to yourself and your existence). Courage, or coming from the heart, is integral to this.
We have just experienced more than six months of consecutive retrograde inner planets. This is fairly rare. Inner planets, because they're closer to the Earth, are retrograde a lesser percentage of the time than are the outer planets. They tend to have more pronounced effects, and they speak to topics that are both more readily accessible and seem more personally relevant.
We are about to move into new territory. This month, two elements of the grand cross that's been the defining factor of 2014 astrology move on to new signs: Jupiter ingresses Leo on July 16, and Mars ingresses Scorpio on July 25. Put simply, the grand cross is over, though the Uranus-Pluto square I've written about many times in this space continues well into next year. More on that another time.
Jupiter in Leo: The Gold Standard of Self-Esteem
Jupiter in Leo is to me an image of self-esteem. It's an image of valuing oneself, and allowing that sense of value to grow and expand. It's difficult to describe the self-esteem problem because it's so widespread, and because so many people take it for granted in their own lives.
It's a kind of ever-present cultural toxin that fades into the background, then seems to run the show. It does this by setting a low standard of what one's own life and ideas are worth. It is this standard that we need to raise for ourselves and put out as an example to others.
Let's look at the astrology first. Leo, as the sign ruled by the Sun, is the backbone of the zodiac. It is a symbol that represents the idea of vital force, or the main line of energy that supports life and consciousness. It is possible to block or afflict the vital force, but not to make it go away. You might think of self-esteem as having a connection to one's own vitality and a sense of one's own existence, and think of lacking self-esteem as blockage to that connection.
The problem is that this "thing-in-the-way" appears as some kind of lack, when it may be a blockage that must be removed to allow one's own natural energy to flow. It's just that there are so many judgments around that flow of vital energy—of really being alive—that the judgments become part of the blockage, which appears as a lack.
Think of Jupiter as the place where you invest your faith. It's the place where you expect to get a result of some kind, without having to do much except allow yourself to be who you are. The most effective ways to block that energy or faith are guilt, denial, and deception. But if those blockages are seen as some kind of helpful thing, serving some kind of purpose, then one might not want to address them.
That's exactly what I think the core problem is. We all possess innate vitality, which we're taught to suppress; then the means of suppression are sold back to us as productive, helpful, or socially beneficial in some way. I'm suggesting that if you struggle with self-esteem issues, you might look at what you value as a "good thing" that is really blocking your access to your own strength and awareness.
Cultivating self-esteem might begin with a reevaluation of all those "good things"—the things that supposedly make one socially acceptable, but which really involve self-denial and suppressing one's desire to live.
One other aspect of this is avoiding what people know might help them. Obviously there are many injuries and insults that we collect in life, some of them truly significant and a source of ongoing pain. There are ways to address, resolve, and heal these issues. Humans are amazingly resilient and you can be sure that people have healed from much worse than what you've been through.
I have heard people say many times, "I don't want to go to therapy because I'm afraid to find out what's in there" (i.e., learn about myself). When it comes to therapy, healing, or support, this is the "What will come first, the chicken or the egg?" question. Will I bolster my self-esteem and do something for myself that will help me, or will I recognize that I am struggling and then do something in an effort to make my life better?
Who you surround yourself with is crucial to your self-esteem. Some people will affirm your value and your beauty, and you will learn from them. Some will tear down your value and your beauty, and you will learn from them just as well. However, beyond choosing who your examples are, it's dangerous to invest your self-esteem in relationships because they tend to change so often, and can be so unpredictable.
Jupiter in Leo is saying: Set an example for yourself. Within you is a source of life and value that is yours to draw upon, invest in, have faith in, and access as a source of inner love. It's saying: Become your own teacher. Become your own student. Devote yourself to teaching and learning. This is the gold standard of self esteem.
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