The Summer Solstice—occurring this year on June 20th—marks the day when the Sun is at its northernmost or southernmost arc along the celestial equator. This is the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere but winter begins in the Southern Hemisphere. The sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer in the North and makes the longest day of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the shortest day and longest night.
Seasonal changes occur quarterly and their influence lasts until the next season’s ingress. Even so, there are no solid demarcations, with influences waning over time, similar to the way a radiant full moon eventually attenuates into darkness.
The Astrology of Summer Solstice 2021
On June 20, 2020, the Sun enters 0° Cancer at 11:32 PM Eastern Daylight Time. I am using the location of Washington, D.C., as it is the capital of the United States, and as such, represents this country’s collective experience.
Although Solstice planetary house placements will vary with location, universally the astrology for this moment has extremely noteworthy conditions. Not one, not two, but three planets—Mercury, Jupiter, and Neptune—are stationary. What this means is that each one of these planets has slowed down considerably to change direction. Jupiter stations to go retrograde on the 20th, Mercury stations to go direct on the 22nd, and Neptune stations to go retrograde on June 25.
Stationary influences are felt four-five days out on either side of the station. Therefore, we are looking at a Solstice that begins under the influence of the Mercury, Jupiter, and Neptune stations. This dynamic will continue at least into the Fall Equinox, as all energy formations are interconnected and overlay each other as they wax and wane.
A stationary planet has a somewhat different meaning than a retrograde planet. During a retrograde, we have the opportunity to review and reconsider thoughts and actions that we engaged in before the retrograde so that when the planet stations to go direct, we can take needed actions to amend and course-correct.
When a planet’s velocity is at (or close to) 00° 00′, the planet is said to be stationary (or “stopped”) in its motion. The symbolism of a stationary planet is like that of a guide who has stopped her journey with the express purpose of witnessing a particular event or person. There is something both mystical and penetrating about the station. This quality of witness is highly focused and stamps its unique energies into the event or person, encoding it with aspects of its own nature. The station is a time for us to stop in our tracks, as it were, and witness with depth and deliberation what we truly need. If we have taken detours from addressing our fundamental needs, from what our hearts really want to explore, and what our gifts really want to express, we can now reconnect to those.
There is an additional dimension to consider with this particular Mercury station. Summer Solstice 2021’s stationary Mercury is aphelion, meaning that its orbit is at its farthest point from the Sun. This is a moderating influence for Mercury, known for its trickster tendencies. When it is closest to the Sun, Mercury is at perihelion and moves fast with [symbolic] impatience and a burning desire to release tension and make something happen. The trickster archetype is far more prominent at perihelion.
Stationary Mercury does not have the shrewdness or ambition of Mercury at normal “cruising” velocity or when it is perihelion. When stationary, Mercury is more accommodating and diplomatic. Communication is more transparent, and agendas that take everyone into account are supported.
This Solstice’s Mercury has the ambitious ego of Mercury with the stationary’s sense of destiny moderated by the aphelion position. There is egotism but it’s modulated; there is partisanship but it’s tempered; there is passion, but it’s not that intense. We still have the shrewdness and ambition of Mercury, but the obsessive fire is tempered, and at times that’s for the best. This is a more accommodating and diplomatic version of Mercury. It is as if Mercury is masked. This configuration is more like the Mercury you read about in astrology books: curious, intelligent, efficient, and a little bit devoid of feeling. There is greater detachment with this aspect. Still, even beneath these conditions (stationary + aphelion), Mercury’s core nature remains, and any skeletons that lurk in its closet are still there but quieted for now.
What Does It Mean When Jupiter Stations?
Let’s review the essential meaning of astrological Jupiter. Jupiter’s qualities are warmth, friendliness, and an easy-going nature; it’s adventurous, has a drive for leadership, and enjoys networking. It desires to win friends and influence others. Jupiter is an energy that feels very at home in groups and it wants to participate in all the good things that life offers. It’s a big, wide, wonderful world, and Jupiter wants to experience as much of it as possible.
When Jupiter stations, its core qualities of expansion and connection contract. Rather than sharing its wins with others, it tends to make itself into a hero, romanticizing its past, exaggerating its successes, and finding enemies for its failures. It can turn both allies and enemies into larger-than-life figures and make daily struggles into events of historical proportion. “Normal” Jupiter is already prominent energy, and when this energy is turned upside down, it can mythologize itself into a kind of lone ranger who is the only one fighting on behalf of justice.
At the station, Jupiter can have identity issues and as such, express volatility. It can become obsessed with telling its story of winning over great odds to an audience that recognizes and appreciates its heroism. Instead of being content with having a unique role within a group, stationary Jupiter needs to be center stage to avoid social hierarchies.
The astrological Neptune is a symbol of faraway realms. It also represents intuition, psychic abilities, and inspiration from the higher realms. Compassion, spirituality, and empathy are high expressions of Neptune, but Neptune can also represent illusion and addiction.
Stationary Neptune is about the mythos of a collective—it could be local, it could be regional, and it could be national, or worldwide. A mythos encapsulates the core ideology, including beliefs and values, which everyone in a particular community – families to countries to nations to the world – can embrace, and which imparts identity and belonging. There is a need to belong to a collective. It anchors communities into a sense of purpose and a meaningful relationship to their culture. Stationary Neptune also represents the ability to speak a universal language that everyone understands. This is because when stationary, Neptune acts as a cultural conduit which is able to tap into energies that are floating in the air. Stationary Neptune longs for feelings and experiences that the current environment can’t provide, and so it seeks to create them through a collective experience. It is interested in the broader culture, in social issues, cultural mores, writers, artists, musicians, politicians, but especially perhaps, in writers and musicians, which can provide the emotional tones and psychological depths that a purely intellectual view of life cannot.
The Saturn-Uranus Square
The astrology of Solstice 2021 also contains the mighty Saturn-Uranus square. A square is a 90° angle between planets. Because both Saturn and Uranus are outer planets, they move slowly, which makes their effects powerful and lasting. While their impact is personal, the changes they make to the collective are enduring.
This is an aspect of great tension, where the energies of the two planets assert their influence without cooperation or compromise. Saturn-Uranus squares, and other mathematical aspects of tension, influence societal and personal change through creating instability, chaos, and upheaval, including wars, genocide, and economic recessions (to name a few) as worse case scenarios. Civil unrest is also often accompanied by violence. Historically, the changes that hard contacts between Saturn and Uranus bring will unfold over decades. (Note that hard aspects between Saturn and Pluto will have similar impacts).
This happens when Saturn’s job to maintain the status quo overreaches, and works against the evolving needs of humanity. Traditions, systems, and rules are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of communities. But when those traditions and the established way of doing things fail to keep pace with the real needs of groups and individuals, Uranus eventually intervenes to exert tremendous pressure that breaks the dynamics of prevailing sacred icons that are preventing meeting even the basic needs of a community. Undue restriction and oppression will eventually be brought down. There is tremendous pressure to overhaul unworkable structures and beliefs. In my opinion, humanity doesn’t need to go to such extremes. If we are keeping pace with the needs of our world, there is no need to resort to destructive tactics to return to balance.
The square began in February 2021 and is in effect the entire year, with exact aspects on February 17, June 14, and December 23. The square continues into 2022, finally separating on the second week of November 2022.
Other Celestial Influences
Solstice 2021 is just coming out from under the influence of the May 26 total lunar eclipse at 5° Sagittarius 26.’ Lunar eclipses signal a time to declutter and let go of what did not come to fruition despite our efforts and to focus on what we need to bring in.
Mars opposes Pluto from about June 4th through June 8th. This aspect repeats the signature tension of the intensity and confrontative issues of these times. Push and shove are one way to express these, but if we understand what these energies are telling us, mastery of their high expression can create transformative solutions.
On June 10, we have a Solar eclipse at 19° Gemini 47.’ Solar eclipses are times to be forward-looking and visionary—and it is necessary to wrap up the unfinished business brought to our awareness under the lunar eclipse before we can move forward freely.
The Full Moon is at 3° Capricorn 28′ on June 24. The Sabian symbol keynote for 4° Capricorn is the ability to use natural resources and basic skills to achieve a group purpose. We can achieve a great deal when we work cooperatively with a shared universal purpose.
In addition to the influences described, there is a dramatic Mars-Saturn opposition building up towards the end of June. With Saturn stationing as Mars enters into opposition, the conflict between these two planets is intensified. At the same time, Mars squares Uranus, exerting additional pressure on the already tense Saturn-Uranus square, with Uranus at the apex of this configuration. July 4 could turn out to be especially incendiary. Mars’ square to Uranus begins to wane after the 4th, but tensions continue through the end of that week. This exacerbating influence will highlight the basis behind the conflicts of the Saturn-Uranus square occurring at this time in history. The tension symbolized by this square is of course, worldwide, and it covers the entire territory of misappropriation of power and lack of planetary stewardship. Our individual and collective destinies are intertwined but that does not seem to be well understood. Perhaps these transits will assist us to gain a deeper understanding of this.
Overview of the Central Energies of the Planets
Astrological Themes of the Stationaries: Mercury is more accommodating and diplomatic; Jupiter’s normally warm and expansive nature is in reverse. It is testy, having lost its sense of community and connection. Now it needs to be acknowledged as being special rather than being one of the crowd. Neptune seeks a mythos that will address broader cultural and community issues where everyone can get behind a vision and a set of values that creates belonging and bonding.
Saturn-Uranus square: There is the conflict between adhering stubbornly to tradition for tradition’s sake and the need for radical adaptation to meet current needs. Dramatic head-butting has the potential for violence. Under this square, it is difficult to hear the other side. The Mars-Saturn opposition aggravates the existing square, bringing the core issues to light where everyone can see them and even get a better idea of what is going on for them personally.
The overriding planetary themes center on discomfort and agitation. Current values, rules, and infrastructures are failing to meet the needs of real people as well as the needs of an evolving civilization. At the same time, we are aware that if we can collectively agree to a vision that everyone can embrace (because its implementation will address everyone’s basic needs and create benefits for all), we can put an end to spinning our wheels. Working together cooperatively we can achieve a great deal. But will we do it?
The upside of so many stationary planetary influences is that we are given the opportunity to step back from business as usual. We can take the time we need to re-evaluate the worthiness of our goals, their impact on ourselves and others. We have the time to make new intentions and create goals that are truly worthy of serving humanity.
The Human Design Chart for Summer Solstice 2021
The Human Design chart for this Solstice is a Manifesting Generator with a 2/4 profile and the incarnation cross of the Vessel of Love. The Cross of the Vessel of Love, born of the architecture of celestial positions in specific gates, will soften the agitation of prevailing planetary energies, and in conjunction with the stationary period, give us pause from acting and induce a calmer frame of mind.
An Incarnation Cross is compromised of the Personality (Conscious) Earth and Sun, and the Design (Unconscious) Earth and Sun. Each of these four planets occupies a gate, and the unique configuration of those gates creates a specific Cross. Crosses identify our overarching purpose. The Solstice chart has the Incarnation Cross of the Vessel of Love. This Cross is about the love of the body, love of Spirit, love of humanity, and self-love.
The four gates of Cross of the Vessel of Love are the 46, the 25, the 15, and the 10. In the 46 we have the love and appreciation of being in a human body so that we can give our spiritual purpose form and manifestation; in the 25 we remember that the reason we do anything is because of our reverence for, and gratitude to, Source; in the 15, we remember our love of humanity and our need for connection to community, and in the 10, we remember to love ourselves. The effect of these celestial events will be long-term; thus we continue to work on creating community. Human beings will flourish when communities are built on love, which in practice means that we create societies that support each one to be able to thrive. At each turning of the seasons we are reminded that this is still an option.
What do we know about the Manifesting Generator?
The Manifesting Generators’ life purpose is about doing things over and over again in various ways so that they can achieve mastery and find the shortest path to doing anything. They are here to do the “work” of the world and build the new infrastructures that will support the sustainable and equitable approaches needed for a thriving civilization and planet. Manifesting Generators are designed to cut to the chase and find shortcuts and the most efficient ways to accomplish any goal.
The Quantum Purpose of the Manifesting Generator (per Karen Curry Parker) is to physically manifest creativity and speed up the quantum process and linear time.
This Solstice (and beyond) we benefit greatly from the tireless and indomitable capacity of the Manifesting Generator to launch the foundation for what will support humanity, and to be able to address, at the same time, the many facets of the work that needs to be done.
The 2/4 Profile, the Hermit Opportunist. We all need time for unhurried isolation, for that is where we experience our deepest peace. Inside relaxation and silence we can explore, without interruption, our creativity and musings. We can re-connect to ourselves. This profile is about the need to retreat to aloneness to find one’s inner guidance, and to integrate what we have gathered. And then it is time to return to connection, for that is where we thrive.
The Solstice Sun is in Gate 15. In the I Ching, on which Human Design is also based, it is known as the Gate of Humility. In the translation by Deng Ming-Dao in The Living I Ching, we are told that humility is akin to compassion “in the sense that true compassion means extending one’s energy and talents on behalf of others.”
Humility is the corollary to compassion. The I Ching tells us that humility exists only in the wake of arrogance. And yet, not everyone chooses to step aside from arrogance and open their hearts to suffering, their own, and others.
What do the concerns of humility and compassion have to do with the Summer Solstice 2021 charts? Pretty much everything, and here’s why. I don’t have to tell you that no matter what category you consider, what catalog or newspaper or newsletter or Instagram or Facebook post and so on, we are alerted in no uncertain terms that we face grim realities. The political and ecological challenges (some are breathtakingly steep) are enormous. Our congresspeople are slow to create legislative solutions. Grassroots environmental groups struggle for financing. I’m not sure that those who hold seats of power are even aware of the vast or multitudinous quality and quantity of suffering. If they are, their bellies have gone cold and remembrances of passion to do the right thing are memories lost in the annals and given over to expediency.
The Central Message of This Season
The moment when the Sun enters Cancer in the tropical zodiac contains a tangled hierarchy of energies. Some of these energies clash; some are friendly to each other. Each has its arena of concern and its take on things. Similarly, we are not all gathered together to do the right thing, and yet, there are enough of us that know what that is. We can make a difference. We can get the Titanic turned around.
Let’s review the prominent energies of the astrology of this time. Three planets have come to a station. The symbolism is impressive. There is a major signpost telling us how to take advantage of what we are currently immersed in. To reiterate:
The symbolism of a stationary planet is like that of a guide who has stopped her journey with the express purpose of witnessing a particular event or person. There is something both mystical and penetrating about the station. This quality of witness is highly focused and stamps its unique energies into the event or person, encoding it with aspects of its own nature. The station is a time for us to stop in our tracks as it were, and witness with depth and deliberation, what we truly need. If we have taken detours from addressing our fundamental needs, from what our hearts really want to explore, and what our gifts really want to express, we can now reconnect to those.
Each of the stationary planets – Mercury, Jupiter, and Neptune, have their concerns. They are each uniquely gifted in navigating their territory. Although some of these energies can be prickly and fussy and not always grounded or inclined to be of service, we can nevertheless take their core intelligence and use these to break new trails. Mercury is perceptive and strategic, Jupiter has sociability and courage, and Neptune is intuitive and compassionate.
Admittedly, there is more than enough conflict to go around with the current interactions of Saturn, Uranus, Mars, and Pluto. We have all seen the ugly aftermath of releasing these energies through the path of least resistance. But if we understand what these energies are telling us, we will also see that mastery of their high expression is what will lead to transformative solutions. Yes, I know; easy to say and hard to do. However, we are not on our own, so let’s act like we believe this!
Although we may tremble, we are all called to be the guides who look deep into the well of the human condition and from its murk perceive what patterns need to be disrupted. We may not know what the new process will be, but we have faith that the answers exist, and that they will come.
The Cross of the Vessel of Love reminds us once again that we have the power —through our love for ourselves, for others, and for these bodies (without which we cannot make meaningful change)—to bring in the new patterns. We are also reminded by this Cross that we are here to achieve mastery through courage and dedication and that unless we sit inside of compassion and humility, we will become arrogant and forget everything we knew about the right thing to do.
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