New Moon in Cancer – Plus Venus Retrograde and Lunar Nodes Shifting to Aries-Libra Axis (July 17, 2023) 

by Anne Reith, Ph.D.
Astrological wheel with symbols and backlighting of brilliant white, pink, purple, and blues
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Astrological wheel with symbols and backlighting of brilliant white, pink, purple, and blues

In the Pacific Time Zone, the New Moon will occur at 11:31 a.m. on Monday, July 17.  This New Moon finds the Moon and Sun conjunct (0°) at 24°56’ of Cancer.  To further clarify how this New Moon will impact you on a personal level, locate 24°56’ of Cancer in your birth/natal chart.  The issues associated with that house are going to be most influenced by this New Moon’s presence.  (NOTE:  Click here to learn how to find the transiting Moon in your chart.)

New Moons always provide us with an opportunity for a new emotional start in the areas associated with the sign.  This time, we are focused on Cancer: 

  • The higher expression of this sign includes being nurturing, sympathetic, family oriented, sensitive, and intuitive/psychic. 
  • The lower expression can lead to being overly emotional, moody, dependent, or fearful.   

Cancer is a cardinal water sign.  Cardinal signs are active and want to create new things.  Water signs are associated with our emotions.  Therefore, our feelings always play a very active, central role during Cancer New Moons.  We may be extra sensitive, but also highly intuitive and creative.  Our emotions may be felt more strongly, which can include everything from intense joy and happiness to utter frustration or sadness.  If needed, we need to be extra gentle with ourselves and seek out support. 

What we often focus on during a Cancer New Moon are issues of safety within our home and family, however we define it.  As is true with all signs, the qualities associated with that sign can be very helpful or they can be taken to an extreme.  For example, Cancer is often associated with the mothering/maternal energy, which can be delightful.  And it is possible that during this time we may be called on to compassionately take care of either our own needs or the needs of someone we care about.  However, when taken to an extreme with others, the mothering energy can become smothering.  As is always the case, it’s up to us to consciously choose how the energy will be expressed.  In this example, providing nurturing energy would be a healthier choice, as opposed to violating someone’s boundaries in our attempt to help or fix. 

As for the rest of this Moon Update, I will be honest and say that I’ve been dreading this one because there are so many important astrological events occurring at this time.  Each one probably deserves its own Blog post!  However, I know your time is precious, so I have done my best to find ways to summarize this incredibly active astrological time.  I do ask for forgiveness in advance, because I will have to just “hit the highlights.”  I also apologize if I have missed a specific aspect or astrological event that you personally hoped I would cover and didn’t. 

On the same day as the Cancer New Moon (Monday, July 17), the Lunar Nodes will be changing signs.  The Nodes always impact us individually and globally, but I will focus on the potential personal impact in this Moon Update. 

Unlike the planets, Nodes always move in a retrograde/backwards direction through the signs.  Additionally, they are always in opposition (180°) to each other, so they will fall in opposite signs. 

  • For the last 18 months, the North Node has been in Taurus and the South Node has been moving through Scorpio.  Our goal during this time has been to find ways to dig deep into our healing and transformational journey (Scorpio) while still finding ways to stay grounded in our Earthly bodies and allow our souls to enjoy that sensual experience (Taurus). 
  • For the next 18 months (through January 28, 2025), the North Node will begin travelling through Aries, and the South Node will be located in Libra.  This is a major shift in focus.  We are being asked to explore how to find a balance between our independent self (Aries) and our relational self (Libra). 

The South Node focuses on what is familiar and comfortable.  It’s also what we tend to revert to when under stress.  While in Libra, we want to rely on making connections and compromising to “keep the peace.”  The North Node, in contrast, is associated with what we need to develop at this point in our evolutionary history.  It’s often uncomfortable because we are being asked to develop or expand a skill set.  While traveling through Aries, we are being encouraged to explore our “courageous individual expression” and stand up for our individual view of the truth.

However, because they are in opposition (180°), successfully navigating the issues associated with the Nodes means finding balance.  Although this could be expressed in many ways, one possibility is that (a) the Aries North Node tells us we need to learn how to avoid sacrificing what is truly important to us and (b) we can tap into the Libra South Node in order to do this in ways that don’t hurt others. 

But now I need to return to the Cancer New Moon.  In addition to the New Moon and the Nodes changing signs, (a) the Sun and Moon will be opposing (180°) Pluto and (b) both the New Moon and Pluto are squaring (90°) the newly shifted Nodes.  This geometric configuration forms a big square (AKA a Grand Cross). 

Normally, the influence of a New or Full Moon only lasts about 7 total days (i.e., 3 days before, the day of, 3 days after).  However, Pluto will be forming 3 exact squares (90°) to the Nodes:  (1) Saturday, July 22, (2) Tuesday, July 25, and (3) Friday, July 28.  (NOTE:  The 3 direct “hits” are due to Pluto’s retrograde motion and the direct/retrograde motion of the Nodes.)  Because Pluto moves very slowly, it’s influence will be in effect for several days before and after the actual squares. 

This means that the last half of July and the first part of August will be influenced by these squares, and this has the potential to be a very intense time.  Many of us may recognize that a relationship, situation, or even a way of being in the world needs to come to a natural end.  Although this change may have been brewing for some time, we find we are ready to courageously make the final break.  We may suddenly see that if we remain, it could cause us to have doubts about our ability to pursue our dreams or goals and, thereby, limit our freedom and independence.    

There could be some drama associated with this decision, especially if we try to use the lower expression of Pluto and force someone to understand our decision.  We need to access the higher expression of Pluto’s energy and use our personal power to express what we need in a healthy and mature way.  If emotions are heightened, it may help to remember that these will pass.   

Support for any type of change comes from a trine (120°) between the Sun/Moon and Neptune in Pisces, which happens to be in retrograde.  The trine provides us with an extra dose of compassion, creativity, and intuition.  Because the archetypal fog lifts when Neptune is in retrograde, we may be able to clearly see what (or who) is blocking our progress, negatively influencing our emotional well-being, and/or stifling our spiritual development.  Neptune retrograde may also amplify our intuitive knowingness about what we need to do or know to be true, even if we can’t fully explain it (yet). 

Additionally, a trine (120°) between Mercury and Chiron provides support for aligning our thoughts with our emotional healing.  We may also gain a better sense of how our thoughts influence our reality.  The potential for real healing is very possible!  And we also receive help from a sextile (60°) between the Sun/Moon and Uranus.  This can bring unexpected but pleasant surprises.  Or, rather than seeing change as threatening, we may feel more open than usual to trying something new, especially if it leads to increased freedom and independence. 

However, it should be noted that Pluto’s opposition (180°) to the Sun will also influence us during the latter part of July and into early August.  The Sun could shine some very bright light into the Plutonean shadows.  That may bring some dark secrets to the surface and could leave someone (or ourselves) feeling exposed and vulnerable. 

Additionally, at the time of the New Moon, there is a very important opposition (180°) occurring between Mars and Saturn.  We need to take this aspect seriously because it can be a tricky dynamic.  If we can tap into its higher expression, this can be a time when we have ample energy, discipline, and motivation to accomplish great things.  Although Mars will want to go fast, Saturn’s influence will slow us down and help us understand that it takes time to build a solid, foundation.  In general, this Mars-Saturn opposition can provide a type of hyperfocus that can get things done!  However, the lower expression can result in that hyperfocus turning into an unhealthy obsession.  It can also lead to frustration, anger, and even cruelty.  Mars is the warrior planet, and Saturn can be the disciplinarian.  The bottom line is that we, again, need to consciously choose to manage the latter and pursue the former expression of this energy! 

There are many other aspects occurring at the time of the New Moon.  Without going into a lot of details, here are some quick highlights:

  • Innovative ideas may come to us that assist us in letting go of the old and bringing in the new. 
  • Various aspects heighten our creativity and intuitive abilities. 
  • Communication around the time of the New Moon can be intense.  We may feel compelled to judge others due to our strong opinions.  However, if we avoid focusing on our needs and, instead, seek win-win solutions, relationships also have the potential to have a graceful and healing quality to them.  But to achieve this, we need to let go of a need to be in control.  It will also help to be present in the moment, breathe, or take a “time out” if we are feeling agitated, anxious, or “about to blow.” 

Just a few days after the New Moon (on Saturday, July 22), Venus begins its 6-week retrograde phase in Leo (through September 3).  It is always a big deal when Venus goes retrograde because it only happens every 18 months, which isn’t that often.  Regardless of the sign Venus is in, this is a time when we are asked to go inward in to order to review, reevaluate, or rediscover our core values and what we truly desire.  Although any part of our lives can be touched by this, our relationships and finances may be our primary areas of focus.  We typically do this through quiet self-assessment and self-exploration.  During this time, we should be asking ourselves tough questions, such as “What is it that feeds my soul?” and “What fills my life with passion or excitement?” 

Because Venus will be retrograde in Leo, it will require opening our hearts and figuring out what we want to create in the world.  We may also be asking ourselves whether we are feeling loved, whether we love ourselves, and what we want others to value about us.  Exploring topics such as dating, romance, and play may feel more important than usual.  Also, we may start thinking about whether we want to take on a leadership role in some way. 

If we do the work of this Venus retrograde period, we may emerge in September with a renewed sense of passion, clarity about what we want to pursue at this point in our life, and/or increased motivation to move forward toward a goal that is important to us.  Some of us may even be ready to live life in an entirely new way. 

And if all of the above wasn’t enough to process, the Sun shifts from Cancer into Leo on the same day that Venus begins its retrograde phase (Saturday, July 22).  That means that the Sun, Venus (in retrograde), and Mercury will all be in the sign of the lion/lioness.  In some ways this can be a tricky combination.  As discussed above, Venus retrograde will draw us inward, but the Sun and Mercury in Leo pulls us to be outgoing and find ways to shine.  Whatever we do, we need to keep our focus on coming from our heart and not from our ego.  But this can be a good time to be more playful and expressive, especially while Mercury is in Leo (through Saturday, July 29). 

Finally, the very next day (Sunday, July 23), Chiron begins its retrograde phase, which will continue through December 23.  When the Wounded Healer is in retrograde, we often find that old vulnerabilities come to the surface.  Although this can be challenging, it can be a very healing time.  We often benefit from spending time with our inner child, especially if we have recently been ignoring or suppressing its needs.  Because this is happening in Aries, it may be a rather forceful process, but we also are being provided with the courage needed to face our emotional baggage. 

Overall, this New Moon in Cancer is an intense mix of many important astrological events.  Emotions and sensitivities of all kinds may be heightened during this time, so we need to tap into Cancer’s compassionate nature when dealing with ourselves and others.  The strong influence of Pluto and the Nodes changing signs means that situations or relationships could come to a sudden but timely end.  The expression “enlightened self-interest” is often used to describe the energy of the Nodes falling on the Aries/Libra axis.  Over the next 18 months, we need to make sure we avoid compromising simply to keep the peace.  And finally, Venus retrograde urges us to quietly spend time exploring what we desire and value most in the world.  That world may be very different if we do this inner work! 

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  • Anne Reith, Ph.D.©


New Moon at 24°56’ of Cancer

  • Monday, July 17, 2023, 11:31 a.m. PDT
  • Monday, July 17, 2023, 2:31 p.m. EDT
  • Monday, July 17, 2023, 6:31 p.m. GMT


  • All New Moons and Full Moons influence us for the 3 days before, the day of, and 3 days after the actual event.



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By Anne Reith, Ph.D.

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