Solstice Report
New York, Friday, June 22, 2007

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Cancer Birthdays, 2007: The Year of the Self-Portrait
DEEP INSIDE, all questions come back to relationships. Yet at this point, you know that relationships are about your alignment with yourself, your existence and your past. All of these things add up to how you yourself, and much of what shows up in the astrology for the coming four seasons relates to the power of images. Rob Brezsny, the Cancerian horoscope writer, once said that "images are dangerous," and he knew what he was talking about. But what is dangerous is also powerful, and what has the power to harm also has the gift of healing, if it's used correctly.
What kind of images am I talking about? Well, all three kinds: the image you have of yourself; the images you make of others; and literally, photographic and video images, which can become an excellent therapeutic tool for you as you embark on the next stage of your inner growth, relationships and creative development.
Self-image is one of the most difficult things to see, because it's difficult to jump far enough out of our own awareness to perceive ourselves accurately. When we look in mirrors, including the mirror of our relationships, we're often looking into a reverse image. Likewise, the images we hold of others are often difficult to see, because we think we're seeing people as they actually are -- not as we would have them be. There is a fine line here, and it's always more productive to start with how you see yourself, then assess how this changes your view of the world and the people with whom you coexist.
To change how you see yourself, you must first know how you do in fact see yourself; you would need to know what you're changing in order to do it effectively. That information is coming from many sources, some of them reliable and some of them not so reliable. You must be your own most dependable source.
I would suggest that you quite literally portray yourself in a series of photographs, perhaps daily or weekly. Look at these things, get a sense of how you change from picture to picture and from one moment to the next, and when you're ready, show them to people. I would also suggest that you embark on some form of autobiographical writing, telling your story so that you get a different perspective on your story: indeed, so you find out it's not who you are. Who you are is, in truth, unwritten.
The pages of your book of life will seem all the more blank when you recognize and accept that you owe nobody being who they think you should be. The flavor of your charts this year is distinctly Aquarian, suggesting that individuality, nonconformism and intellectual freedom are the sharpest knives in your drawer.

June 21-June 28

All Cancerians have experienced some greater or lesser struggle with lack during the past two years. It may be based in a perception or a reality; you may have used the opportunity to build, or to languish; whatever you may think or feel, you have in truth laid a stronger foundation for yourself than you're aware of today. For you, the time has come to investigate the nature of "lack" in your life, and the corresponding nature of what it means to feel and in fact be abundant.
The issue rarely involves the truth of who you are, but rather the deceptive things that have fed into your sense of self. I don't suggest a long investigation, just an honest and thorough one. The duration of the summer would more than suffice, and as the fog clears in certain aspects of your intimate and financial relationships, you will see clear points where you can make decisions. Points where you were imposed upon in the past will reveal themselves as opportunities to choose. Agreements that previously gave you a less-then-fair deal are up for reassessment.
Yet assess you must. If you search yourself, vow to leave no doorknob unturned, no box unopened and no disk drive unexamined. You will be all the more likely to look, and to see, when the time comes. It's far easier to hold onto an old image of ourselves when we don't know what that image is. It seems more reasonable to drag around baggage when we have no idea what it contains. Once you know what you are actually holding, letting go of some or most of it will be an appealing prospect.
You may -- indeed, you are likely to -- resist this process, but I suggest that you call on your strength and persist. Factors that have made your life difficult the past few years are now in the dissolving phase; the peak of the energy is long past, and what seemed to require a lot of push-power just a few months ago will require much less exertion now.
One of the deepest feelings you're working through is that of being imposed upon. You have for so long seemed to be the victim of invisible forces in your environment and influences from others and inner motivations you just did not understand. Now is the time to invoke the opposite: understand your own motives; study your environment; be intimately aware of the ways that others influence you, and you will finally crack the door of freedom.
June 29-July 6

How much fear is it normal to feel? Well, a survey of our planet, be it five minutes or five years, would probably reveal that a lot of fear is both sensible and normal. Of course, it helps us not. Yet fear is your teacher now. I don't suggest you do things to indulge yourself, but rather study what worries you, keep conscious track of the things you think of late at night, and identify the things that allow you to release your fear and move on.
They exist, but you need to know what they are in order to make the best use of them. Consider how rarely the object of our fears come true. Really: how often does it happen? One time in a hundred, or one time in a thousand? Were we to use statistics, it would be more logical to not worry about the things we fear than to worry about them. A simple formula could be, if you're afraid of something, then you have nothing to worry about.
It would seem, based on this observation, that fears are actually based on lies that we are told, or (later in the game of life) tell ourselves. A variety of subtle and not-so-subtle factors will help you reveal these inner deceptions in the weeks and seasons to come. You merely need to be willing, to have this work. It would help a lot if you recognized that the worst deceptions are the ones we tell ourselves, particularly about how meaningful our existence is to the people we care about.
Your self-esteem has indeed become deeply mingled in your relationships, and this has served you excellently to the extent that people have been steadfast, honest and loyal. Though you may have given yourself a hard time, you may want to recognize the great extent to which others have supported you as you made up your mind about yourself, and as you reach a moment of revelation where you are free to take over the process yourself. You may, however, decide that it's not so cool to put your self-esteem into the hands of others, no matter how much they love you.
But like the fears you possess, any lack of holding yourself in high esteem is based on what is not true, rather than what is true. What is false holds the greater sway, so you will need to be vigilant. That is a small price to pay for lifting a stone off of your heart and clearing a cloud from your mind. Please do not pine over what you did not get done these past two years: you accomplished more than you think, and you laid the groundwork for so much more.
July 7-July 13

You have a seemingly daunting task ahead of you, but it's not so difficult as you may think: adjusting to the sexual and social reality of other people. At times that means conforming, and at other times it means focusing your determination to stand out. Generally, adults must do a bit of both, paying attention to what is appropriate in any given moment. I would propose that standing out will be necessary two times out of three; and that adjusting to what others need, one time out of three.
Yet you must set limits, choose what is important to you, and moreover, make sure that when you are doing what is of value to others that it also has a significant value to you. All such arrangements are contractual; any legally valid contract must benefit both people. If an "agreement" does not benefit both parties, then it's a form of slavery. There are some matters on which you cannot compromise. You must know precisely what they are, and have faith that in moments when you must assert your individuality, others are benefiting from your example or at least from your willingness to stand up as yourself.
When this is done sincerely, it always benefits everyone, regardless of who is doing the standing up and who is doing the standing down. Those who do not know the pleasure and the utility of boundaries cannot appreciate them. Yet perhaps the most useful boundary you are setting involves the generations that came before you. There is something in your charts about your legacy, what you inherited, what arrives from your parents and grandparents. Whether we're talking about a negative inheritance, such as an abuse legacy, or a positive one such as a genetic gift or talent that was nurtured in your environment, you win either way.
It's just that you must make the difficult decision to stand up to the past -- to the contracts that were signed for you by your predecessors, and by your refusal to stand up to partners in the past. I suggest that you must have no illusions about this; that you insist, from yourself, on a degree of absolute focus on the ties that bind you to the people who have raised and cultured you, and that when you don't want what they gave you, you set it down or give it back.
We could say "the buck stops here" is the theme of these four seasons. You have the power and the ability to break any chain you like; to refuse to pass on to your progeny what was given to you that has not served you, and to refuse to take from them what was taken from you. This is one of the most daring and meaningful acts of breaking conformity, consciously refusing to be part of the group karma known as a family, and establishing the ground rules -- and the ground -- of your own reality for yourself.

July 14-July 22

Everyone has hang-ups. It's a question of what we do with them: whether we worship them or turn them into art; whether we stumble over our blocks, or build with them.
One theme that is almost sure to come up this year is that of freedom versus jealousy in your relationships. This is a theme of many personal affairs, but the guts of the discussion are often left concealed, and the rewards of a brave discussion are rarely experienced. However, if you find yourself stuck at any point, I suggest you be the one to initiate the discussion. Stuck can mean sexually, creatively or financially; or stuck in some circumstance that seems to have you backed into a corner. Rather than fight, speak your truth and allow a real conversation to ensue.
To be sure, it's a conversation that takes place, when it happens, in a rocky and at times scary landscape, but we grow, and find out the truth of ourselves. There are rewards for crossing that landscape that include the ability to be close to people outside of our expectations of them and of ourselves.
Most of the time, when we are trapped, what we are trapped in is our past conditioning. For most people, this is a comfort zone, until the trap becomes too obvious to deny. At a certain point, it becomes necessary to actually wake up and embrace what is so, now. I recognize that anticipating this is typically associated with fear, but if you think about it, it's a strange fear. Extremely strange: that being trapped in the past, or in delusions, would somehow be more comforting than sizing up a situation merely as it is, but we've all been there.
When it gets really scary is when denial becomes a conscious act, when we know we're kidding ourselves or pretending. The astrology that is rocking and rolling your chart suggests you do nothing of the kind, and that you put scrupulous self-awareness first on your list of what you need to "accomplish" in these seasons, starting now.
You can keep asking the question: what would I do if I knew the truth? How would I act, if I were in possession of the truth? The gift of a hang-up is that generally it points to a place where we are in denial, and when we lift the veil of denial, we can look directly at what we need, what we have to give, what we must heal and what we need to create.
For this reason, any time you find yourself blocked, declare that block an ally, state your needs and desires, and act boldly based on what you discover to be true. You do know! You have the awareness you need to acknowledge anything. You know who you are, and there is no point trying to be anyone else.

CREDITS: Managing Editor: Priya Kale. Webmaster: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Proofreader and Fact checker: Sara Churchville. Horoscope Editor: Jessica Keet.

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