This is the 6/18/12 edition of Magickal Monday: Your Guide to the Week Ahead. Every Monday, I take a look at what kind of planetary energies are available for you to weave into magickal workings — and not just formal, ritual workings. An awareness of the planetary energies is also very helpful for the kind of small, spontaneous  magicks Witches and Pagans often do when we are tending our altars, doing a little energetic cleansing and blessing at work while straightening our desks, or soothing a child who has had a bad day at school. Astrology also helps us guide our meditations and other personal spiritual practices so we can work with the prevailing tides and align ourselves with Nature.
(Please note that all times are in EDT. Add or subtract depending on your time zone)

It’s a busy week that opens with a waning dark Moon in Gemini. The dark Moon is a time of inner awareness, dissolution, and reorientation. Gemini is all about communication, organization, thinking and thought patterns.  It’s a good time to do some re-organization and consolidation — clean up your altar, your desk, your email inbox. Assess your to-do list. Return phone calls. On a magical level, meditate, and watch your thought patterns. If you spend an hour or so at your altar working a spell, then spend the rest of the week thinking negatively about the focus of your working, you’ll get nowhere!

On Tuesday, the New Moon at 11:02 a.m. in the last degree of Gemini begins a new cycle. The New Moon is a conjunction between the Sun and Moon, and the conjunction is a powerful aspect. Magicians differ in the way they work with the New Moon; some like to do the work as close to the moment of the conjunction as possible, others prefer to wait until the first crescent becomes visible, a couple of days after the conjunction. Personally, I treat it as a process. I like to set some clear intentions at the moment of the New Moon, whether or not I have a working planned. (I probably don’t need to tell you that the waxing Moon is for workings of growth and expansion) If I do have a specific working planned for this phase, then I begin to gather any material I will need, and prepare for it mentally and physically over the next few days. I also check the transits against my natal chart to determine the best timing for my spell, then do the spell after the Moon appears in the sky again.

This New Moon is particularly powerful, falling within one and a half degrees of the Solstice point of 0 degrees Cancer.  The Moon enters Cancer, the sign it rules, just a couple of hours later, and the Sun fully energizes that gateway as it reaches the Solstice point on Wednesday at 7:14 p.m. The Summer Solstice is an energetic gate that connects the light to the dark half of the year. Take a moment to stand in the light on Wednesday — the light of the Sun, and the light of your own soul. This is a moment of pure manifestation — reaffirm your commitment to your current incarnation, your own creativity, and your core values.  You might consider these questions in meditation: Who am I? What do I stand for? What would I die for, and what do I live for?

On Thursday, try not to whine or gossip, and prepare to be patient with those who do as the Moon moves through Cancer to square Saturn, then conjunct Mercury in the early afternoon.  Instead, focus on nurturing and supporting others through empathetic communications. Lady Moon moves into Leo at 11:48 p.m., and the general mood becomes more playful and energized.

The Leo Moon continues through Friday, sextiling Venus in Gemini, then trining Uranus. This could set off some emotional fireworks, probably pleasant ones, but with Venus still retrograde and quincunx Pluto, you’ll want to be careful that no one gets burned, especially through careless, self-centered communication.

On Saturday, Venus — moving very slowly as she approaches the point where she will turn direct again — forms a sesquiquadrate aspect with Saturn, which may result in hurt feelings — yours or someone else's — or some difficulty with money. Since expansive Jupiter is now within range of a conjunction with Venus, watch that you don't over-spend, and keep a weather eye on your investments. It’s likely that we’ll see some real volatility in the markets over the next two to three weeks. The most positive manifestation of this aspect’s energy involves practical manifestation in the areas of both relationships and finance. A trine of the Sun to Neptune in the evening lets compassion and empathy flow — try tapping into that stream to smooth any ruffled feathers.

Sunday brings the focus to the elephant in the middle of the cosmic living room that I mentioned last week — Uranus forming a square aspect to Pluto. This is a major aspect that will have global implications for many years and has been within an orb of influence for a year or so now. I’ll do a whole separate post on this aspect soon, but I’ll boil it down here by saying that an underlying theme for everyone will have to do with transformation and empowerment through rapid, and sometimes sudden, change. The aspect is exact on Sunday — and because of retrogradation, it will be exact a total of seven times between now and March of 2015. Finding out where this aspect falls in your chart and what areas of your life it will highlight can help you navigate consciously, so you can use it to help you get where you want to go, instead of being tossed around by the storms.

Also on Sunday, the Moon squares Jupiter and opposes Neptune. Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Gemini are moving into a square aspect that will be exact the next day, so now is a good time to begin thinking about how to handle that energy. Jupiter and Neptune can get you lost in a fog of dreams and delusions if this aspect contacts sensitive points in your chart, but can also help you consider, re-consider, and define your core spiritual values. Work on grounding and centering during this time. Approached with consciousness, this aspect can not only help you identify your foundational ethics, but can also help you fully absorb and integrate those values, so your outer actions always spontaneously align with your inner principles.

But Jupiter and Neptune are both large, expansive energies, and you’ll need to tie some rope to those two helium  balloons, in the form of Saturnian discipline and hard work in order to get the benefit of the transit, and avoid the pitfalls of grandiosity, over-expansion, and instability. The magickal work of assessing and integrating your core values can revolve around journaling, ritual, divination, meditation or prayer — whatever seems appropriate to you for this kind of personal growth work.  Look to the Moon’s aspects to Saturn to time the work if focus and self-discipline are issues for you. She sextiles transiting Saturn on Friday, or you can choose a time when she transits your natal Saturn. You could also work in Saturn’s planetary hour, or on a Saturday.

That’s all for this week! I'm happy to answer any questions you may have in the Comments, but you will need to register and login to comment (links are in the upper right-hand column).

My best wishes to you all for a joyous Solstice!