Cancer’s honest mistake is not being ready. Refusing the call to give birth to oneself anew. Wanting to foster a child that doesn’t really want to be hers. And then putting off the responsibility because it’s the ‘wrong’ child. Well, where are the ‘right’ children then? Clearly unavailable. Still in the womb.

Nourish what you have available to you, Cancer, even though it may feel like the wrong match. What might initially feel wrong is really resistance to the call. The call to go deeper into your actual archetype. Commitment to build upon your authentic expression, rather than trying to put on a new birthday suit that doesn't quite fit. It's okay that you're not giving birth to Cancer quite yet, because you're still raising your firstborn. This child has already agreed to be birthed, so why impregnate yourself again when she herself is not fully mature?

Yesterday, you were almost convinced that Cancer is not the medicine you carry. You were not allowed to give birth to this archetype; in fact, she was exiled from the altar altogether. What would have to change for you to receive the medicine of Cancer? Allow Venus to let go of the poison of Leo. The delusion that because you are ultra special, ultra great, or ultra wounded, that you do not belong to the pride...that you are not safe here in your power...that self-induced exile is the only path to safety.

The medicine of Cancer is a commitment. A commitment to nurture the seed of an alchemized You, even if it takes more time than the pride would like. Cancer is not in a rush. She sticks around until the seed reaches full maturity, and if the seed is not ready to sprout, then she must hold a safe, patient incubator for it to crack. So, yes, you are the Cancer to your own Leo. You are mothering your little lion until she herself grows up.

To receive the medicine of Cancer is to realize the grace of your own exile. You made an offering and it was not received. You released an egg and it was not fertilized, even though you are clearly fertile. First, you must cook the Leo Queen to reveal the sweet, sweet nectar of her wounded pride. The lioness will feed on her own flesh. Royal eggs and jelly to break the fast of an arduous yet successful hunt. Cook her until she’s raw.

She’s not ready to be a mother right now. That’s why she miscarried. She’s still a child herself, and she is the first child that she’ll ever be able to raise. Tell me, are you ready to be raised?

Here in the Southern Hemisphere, within the Sacred Valley of Perú, one begins their zodiacal journey on the cusp of Scorpio. Down yonder, we penetrate the core of the Earth, feeling our impending death as the waters boil, trying to raise the surface once again. Here, we feel and heal the heat of the waters, realizing just how much we’ve dried up. Then, Sagittarius calls us on a vision quest to see how it’s possible to live up there, so high in the mountains where the earth has been preserved and the waters cannot destroy.

In Capricorn, we climb the mountain to ask the elders to share their wisdom, for we want to learn how to make our valley into a mountain for the next seven generations to come. Aquarius asks us to sit in meditation with this council of elders, envisioning a brighter future in harmony with spirit. Pisces encourages us to grieve the state of the valley, to bring us mercy by flooding our consciousness with newfound love for our land, dreaming the dream onward.

In Aries, we receive the divine impulse to protect our mother who birthed us. We clearly know our purpose here on earth, and we have been given a noble mission that we deem worthy. In Taurus, we are gifted with the capabilities to work and steward the land, for we are attached to it. In Gemini, we are called to spread the knowledge of daily rites and rituals that nurture the land, as Cancer reminds us that this is our home where we belong.

Our body is of the Earth, and Leo shows up to show us that this body is worth showing off. Virgo, the high priestess, enters the scene to serve as a role model for what a clean temple could and should look like. Libra is next, awakening those parts of ourselves that still have not agreed to collaborate with this sacred calling...those parts of ourselves that have yet to discover or recover their purpose here on Earth.

Finally, Scorpio comes back around and asks us to descend into the valley with these parts and partners; however, we learn that we can only go so deep until we must explode, until we're fated to purge. The Earth has a finite core, yet she contains infinite atmosphere, so we are inclined to ascend yet again, for we can always go higher. “There’s always another mountain to climb,” says Sagittarius, for there are always beings who've walked this zodiac before.

“The prime service of the Other is to remain in their otherness, not to become an artifact of our ego’s colonial impulses.” - James Hollis, The Eden Project

Coming to know one's Self necessarily entails coming to know the "magical Other," the dear Beloved for which our soul eternally yearns. The space between is where desire drives, where the libido lives, in order to see and experience itself as such. This liminal space contains the center of the flame, where our sophisticated ego complexes create and project in their own image, whose force will offer sufficient suffocation only upon the realization of their own psychopathology (literally translated to the "suffering of the soul"), as one moves closer to the Other and farther away from themselves. To take credit for our creation, and yet to respect the creator that shall remain unaccredited, is to honor the eternal dialectic within and without, above and below, great mystery through and through. Despite its becoming "just projections," we learn to love our unconscious, unlived life, that which has yet to be known through our individual self. That the Other is living it too, is really just a beautiful synchronization; it is a reality to be shared, a respecting of the part we each have come here to play. What a blessing we've received to witness the Other shine on purpose. Loving our shadow will inevitably allow it to be expressed autonomously, without resistance, and will enable its creator to create through a vessel of pure love and radical acceptance of its own integrity.

My dear friend and mentor, Gemini Brett, has related astrology to the "poetic breath of nature," that language which translates light and shadow through the dance of opposites: self/other, yin/yang, feminine/masculine. By elevating awareness of the tension in apparent polarities, one can reside in the space between the inhale and the exhale, simultaneously acknowledging each one's autonomous existence albeit dependence on the other for completion. If one chooses to see the feminine planet Venus as the inhale, bringing spirit into matter for full embodiment, and the masculine planet Mars as the exhale, bringing matter out to spirit for ever-greater mystery, then we may gaze in awe at how these partners ascend up together into the living sky and descend down together upon our living earth.

Projection is to have an immense project in mind for the Other. As Carl Jung reflects, "The process of coming to terms with the Other in us is well worth while, because in this way we get to know aspects of our nature which we would not allow anybody else to show us and which we ourselves would never have admitted." Our work is to reanimate the anima/animus for which we have or have not grown fond, to revivify it with life unto itself. To bring love and life to our outer Others, who follow us closely behind or underneath in our shadow, is to re-cognize the Great Mystery that rests within us; that mysteriously simple, self-healing and self-serving force which our complexes can only try to colonize and control.

This Venus-Mars opposition occurs in two fixed signs (Leo and Aquarius), both of which can be distilled into the essence of: "Innerstand yourself to understand the world," for what us humans desire to know is that, but our means of knowing is this. Essentially, the only way we can come to know, experience, and heal that Other is by the perfection of our Self. Venus, the planet of the sacred feminine, involves the process of involving and involution itself. Mars, the planet of the sacred masculine, evolves the process of evolving and evolution itself. While Venus is the bridge between Sun and Earth who captures the adornment of our Great Queen and bestows it upon us humble earthlings, Mars is the bridge between Earth and the larger cosmos, forcing our solar beings to dream of our greater home in the galaxy to which we are merely small stars. Venus opens us to receive sunlight and fill ourselves up with Self, while Mars transposes the chords of Self to include the Great Mystery encapsulated by the Other. When Venus is sufficiently full of Self, Mars contracts and exhales the next mission of self-discovery yet to be discovered.

As Mars glides through Aquarius and gives us an eagle's eye view, we are reminded that the yin is always yin and the yang is always yang, despite their apparently connected identity. When we get confused with our projections and try to consciously identify with them, we easily forget that we don't know what we don't know. The projections with which Venus in Leo becomes full is precisely the medicine she needs to recollect the unconscious and remember that which is unknown, and bless it be forever more. This is what it means to be self-possessed, even if by some otherized animating force, for she has come to see her Beloved for who they truly are.

This project is called "The Gracing of the Lioness," and it may be seen depicted on the VIII card of the traditional tarot deck. Aquarius Mars holds Leo Venus in his loving arms, honoring her independent way and all it has cost her, to have adapted her hunt to lead her astray, wild with longing. As high as she goes is as far as she falls, and she's on the path to glory. Leo does as does the heart, pumping and distributing life force to the world that is our body. She fills herself up with radical, radiant self-love and acceptance, the kind of love that happens when a person truly knows they are a divine child and their greatest gift to humanity is just to show up and shine as creator. When this love is felt, it is magnetic. It draws the Other into her field, into heart center.

The shadow of the lion's den lies in her unwillingness to go gentle into that good night. She rages and roars against the dying of the light. Propelled by the poignant point of transience, she boasts her prideful brilliance, while it still lasts. She lusts to leave an everlasting legacy that stands the test of time. She mourns for her monuments, which can only grow so magnificent before the majesty of her own erosion. She trembles in tears of humility, fertilizing fresh humus for the next round of commoners.

How then, do commoners such as she, carry the privilege of wearing golden, glamorous breastplates over their bleeding hearts? Why is Venus in Leo afforded the luxury of seeing not what she is truly made of, but what her art aspires to be? The opportunity cost of her artistic self-protection is her generosity, the giving of herself fully to the image. Seeing the Other, but failing to see Self through otherness. Straying from heart center, for she's been fortified and no one can invade the invulnerable. At times she forgets that her armor is luminous, and only her own love can creep her out. Her shame is a cry to re-cognize her Self for simply showing up, despite its weaponry of gold. Her shame is a call to the depressed, for deep rest. The cure to her own exile is solitude; the cure to her wounded pride is self-exaltation. Alone she is, she is her own worst enemy, and enemies are an extravagance she can ill afford. She believes that because she is ultra-great or ultra-wounded that she no longer belongs. All queens of self-exiled pride are on the hunt for self-love, humbly asking for re-acceptance. Allyship is in-sourced, dismantling false hierarchies of grandiose otherness.

Mars in Aquarius is the only god with the strength of heart to detach from and rise above Leo's dangerous weaponry. Proud to remain at a distance, he believes himself to be immune from the many hertz firing her fierce projector. He is merely the object of her affection, and as object he can be nothing else. He can be not affected, not wounded by the lion's pride. He can be not admitted or re-admitted to the pride, as he never left; he's all right. "It's all good, we're all one," he rests his case that surrounds the one heart. He can be not accepted or re-accepted by the pride, for who or what is really responsible for that acceptance? He glides through Aquarius, tweeting that all-pervading grace. That grace is accepting the fact that in the end, we are accepted, despite being unacceptable.

The Leo-Aquarius dance is one of two free radicals, who, despite acknowledging that they are not in need, expand and contract on themselves in a synchronistic wave. Leo expands and moves close; Aquarius contracts and moves away. Her love seeks closeness, yet his desire needs distance. Aquarius cautions Leo against the dangers of outsourcing her warmth to him. He is not the one to carry a hot and heavy heart, unless it's as light as a feather...then he may take her projects under his wing and still fly solo. Even still, the Aquarius god whispers to the Leo goddess, "Please go inside. Don't get too close to my sun. Fly closer to the one Sun... But don't burn yourself. Don't lose yourself in the center of it all. Keep at a distance." His strength of heart allows Aquarius to tame the lion's mane, that mane which is constantly groomed in a tireless effort to be remembered for the role she plays in the theatre of life. While the lioness jumps through her ego hoops, Mars in Aquarius reins her in and asks her to be quiet and still. He does this not to dominate her, but to further challenge her light to grow brighter and stronger.

Aquarius always has a seat at Leo's fireplace. Although he is a gifted eyewitness to her sacred flame, he is cautious not to get consumed by it. He disciplines himself so that Leo cannot steal his own fire, so that the ego cannot take his higher Self's space in the sky. Mars in Aquarius does not agree to be brought up in Leo's image; he is unique unto himself, and thus it is only he who can steal the show from himself. If it hasn't been stolen, it has merely been lost; and it can always be re-found. The challenge for Aquarius is to stay connected to heart center, not to rise above it or run away from it through asceticism. He mustn't fear sharing passionate love with his beloved, for it is one Love and it already belongs to her.

Leo gazes up at the eagle, wondering how she too may take flight from that one Love. She yearns to be afloat, completely consumed by and for herSelf; and yet, when she cannot fill herself up with the love that she wants and is, she submits to the humus and surrenders to the passion at play...the longing for more. Her claws release the tight grip of what she wants but cannot have, letting desire, the engine of creation, fuel the space between.​

Next month, in mid-July, we'll be able to witness this cosmic dance between the great god and goddess as they live up high together in the visible night sky. Yet, they are still far enough away from each other to breathe on their own, to claim their individual zodiacal thrones. This relationship axis is all about freedom. Venus and Mars are separate and whole unto themselves, but wouldn’t it be awesome if they could have this dance..?

I am that, I am,

CaroLion Naughty