Frida Kahlo, a Cancer.
Photo-Illustration: by Preeti Kinha; Photos Getty
This is a busy astrological week, full of motion, change, and reversal. To start, on the morning of Sunday, June 20, normally expansive Jupiter begins its four-month retrograde period, offering you an opportunity to turn inward, to reflect on how much you’ve grown and consider where you’re going from here. Also on Sunday, the summer solstice marks the sun’s entrance into caring,. After the lively distractibility of , the sun in Cancer invites you to rediscover your depths, to lean into emotion and vulnerability. On Tuesday evening, finally ends. Communication will come more easily again, and plans will go more smoothly, though it will take a few days for the retrograde effects to fully wear off. Then on Thursday, a in Capricorn will guide you back to confidence in yourself and your ambitions. And finally on Friday, Neptune retrograde begins. During this time, which takes up nearly half of every year, fantasies and illusions lose some of their power over you — whether it’s comforting or painful, the truth becomes easier to see.
The same structures that bolster you can still feel limiting, sometimes. Even a home that is healthy and safe can be frustrating when you’re yearning for passion, adventure, intensity. When you’re seeking big victories and major feelings, ordinary stability and familiar love start to feel like disappointments. This week, though, try to appreciate the sweetness and support you’ve been given, without feeling bound or burdened by it. Let the people in your life care for you. Let them offer you everyday kindness. It isn’t a trap, but a gift, freely given.
One of your most valuable skills is your ability to keep going even when that’s difficult, to stay true to your purpose, no matter what happens. But constantly pressing forward without ceasing becomes exhausting. How could it not? So remember that you’re allowed to rest, to replenish your strength, to change your strategy when something’s not working. There are more options available than just muscling through or giving up. This week, don’t try to break down impossible barriers with nothing but your stubborn will to do so. Better right now to seek out the openings that already exist. In other words, you can take the path of least resistance.
Every time you walk through a city, or open a book, or engage another person in conversation, you’re learning, gathering clues, building and broadening your knowledge of the world. The trouble is, it’s hard to combine so many disparate pieces of information, and next to impossible to know how to use everything you’ve found to help yourself and others. This week, don’t push to make everything fit perfectly together. Certain ideas just won’t click yet. Some of the things you’ve learned won’t make sense until later. Right now, it’s best to find your way forward not by reason, but by instinct.
Finding the kind of home you want to live in is a much greater challenge than most people realize. Because it’s not just about the place where you sleep and eat and spend your time, but also the broader environment — streets and forests and cities you share with others. This week, don’t let anyone convince you that your home is demarcated by the four walls around you. When you try to make the wider world around you sweeter, softer, better, that’s because this whole world is your home, too, a home you share with others, one worth protecting together.
Lately, you’ve felt strangely afraid of your mistakes — scared that choices you made in the past will re-emerge to ruin you, or that you’ll make devastating missteps in the future. But this week, that fear will abate. It isn’t exactly that you’ve become newly emboldened, and even less that you’re suddenly perfect, never to do anything wrong again. Only that, by now, you’ve had a few chances to see how life works. Mistakes happen, and they change things, but they aren’t the end. There’s always time to learn, to reset, to find your way. And sometimes the results are painful, but they can be surprising too, even beautiful.
There’s an intense guilt that comes from not giving every moment your all, not fighting hard enough, not being able or willing to labor without rest or reward. Some of the guilt comes from inside you, of course, but you’re not the only one who demands unreasonable things of yourself. Others lay their extravagant expectations on you, too. This week, it isn’t wrong to see to your own needs, to prioritize healing or grieving or simply making it through to the other side. This isn’t selfishness at all. The world needs you to heal, just as much as it needs you to work and to fight.
Sometimes it’s hard to escape the dark gravitational pull of resentment. No matter how brilliant you are or how much of yourself you give, it’s easy to end up feeling invisible and unappreciated. There’s this nagging feeling that you’re always overlooked in favor of someone louder, flashier, more demanding. There are so many ways you should have been treated better in the past. So much in this world is truly unfair, but if nothing else, this week, you’ll be reminded that you aren’t invisible. You know, intellectually, that you matter to others, but now you’ll actually believe it, too.
The problem with seeing the world’s problems so clearly is that it means you can’t help recognizing your own place in the mess. But it’s all too easy to slip from necessary clarity to disproportionate harshness, whether toward yourself or others. This week, the world isn’t asking you to atone for trouble you aren’t guilty of. It’s not asking you to judge yourself too severely, as though to make up for everyone who ever let themself off the hook too easily. Instead, right now, do what you can to make the world just a little easier to bear — for yourself, for others, for everyone.
In the abstract, change doesn’t really scare you. Theoretically, you’re ready for whatever the world has to offer. Sometimes, though, in those moments of real growth and transition, of deep personal change, even you lose your nerve. You reach a point where the potential for loss feels altogether too great. This week, your task is to find your courage again: not by closing off your heart to fear, but by digging deep to find comfort and steadiness inside yourself, by finding the strength in you that isn’t going to change, no matter what else does.
When the world is hard and unyielding, it often feels like you must become equally immovable in response. As far as survival strategies go, it’s not ineffective. This week, though, it isn’t going to work the way it normally does. Instead, this is an opportunity not to match the world’s ruthlessness, but to undermine it by choosing gentleness, by letting your love grow instead of shrink. It feels counterintuitive, even dangerous, but it’s worth trying, if only to remind yourself that you still have access to your softness. This, too, is a survival strategy.
Your skill at envisioning new possibilities is unmatched, a bright and precious gift. Usually it makes life more bearable, but sometimes it causes suffering, too. It’s painful to imagine utopias when you can’t actually bring them into being, to dream of better, fairer, more beautiful worlds you’ll never be able to see. This week, though, you can realign yourself with the world that you’re actually living in. It isn’t about switching off your imagination, but about a fresh sense of connection to and appreciation for the love, beauty, and mysteries that exist right now, all around you.
It’s as if you’ve been enduring an intimacy drought: connections haven’t felt deep enough, haven’t felt really right. Everyone’s inner worlds have become so strange and unruly that it’s hard to know how to relate anymore, how to find one another again. This week, finally, it’s possible to find closeness in new places, and to see where it’s existed around you, all along. People hold more friendship and love and sweetness for you than you realized. And while none of it is perfect, all of it is good and precious and meant for you.
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