In 1977, I dropped out of college and moved to L.A. Having spent my whole life in San Diego, this was a big move for me. And my parents were furious. But I felt I would die if I stayed any longer. So I took a room in a huge Victorian mansion in Hancock Park and found a job as a proofreader at a fashion publication.

My housemates were an oddball lot – a tax accountant, a striving young music exec, a vet living on disability, a devil-may-care fitting model and a lady of the night with her ten-year-old daughter. I got along great with everybody but Ron, a rock star wannabe who howled at all hours from his room beneath mine while playing the electric guitar. Ron was everything I did not want to be (in retrospect, I see that he was triggering my shadow). Socially clueless, he wandered around the house wearing only a t-shirt, his privates peeking out. And he’d tell ludicrous tales, eyes bulging and spittle flying. Although I had lots of fun living in that house – our parties were legendary and we had many wonderful adventures – being around Ron was excruciating. When my boyfriend moved up from San Diego and we got a place together, I was beyond relieved.

Have you ever noticed that when you reach your limit with something but you stay with the pressure, you pop out the other side? This is an alchemical process, like boiling water becoming steam. My wise friend Anna Celestino in her wonderful Shift System (check out this great interview with Anna) recently reminded me of this. Stick with an uncomfortable process long enough, she said, and the next step will present itself. If there’s too much discomfort, pull back a little – but don’t abandon the process prematurely or you’ll miss the transformation. Then once the next step shows up, you need to have the courage to follow it.

As she spoke, I thought of Pluto – the planet of transformation. A peek at my ephemeris revealed that when I moved to L.A., a solar eclipse near Pluto had just squared my Sun (ruler of my fourth house of home). Then a year later, a similar eclipse involving Pluto popped me into another radically new living situation. In both cases, the pressure had built for long enough to effect a necessary change.

Which brings us to the upcoming solar eclipse featuring Pluto. The July 12 Cancer New Moon/solar eclipse (7:47 p.m. PDT) is exactly opposite the Great Transformer. This is the first in a series of three eclipses that permeate the summer. In an already over-heated time, from wildfires and record-breaking heat waves to political insanity and polarization, the opening salvo of eclipse season puts us on notice that things are ripe for change. Since it joins the North Node, the July 12 eclipse points us in a new direction.  But with Pluto conjunct the South Node, there’s also great pressure to burn away the past. Go-get-em Jupiter will have just turned direct, unleashing energy that’s been simmering since March. But Mars, Saturn, Pluto and Neptune will be retrograde – with Mercury soon to come. So this eclipse may have us wondering if we’re coming or going.

Since Pluto rules the hidden depths, revealing our shadows (especially when it’s retrograde), people may be acting out at this emotional eclipse. Because it’s in Cancer-Capricorn, the parental axis, the current crisis with families and children could reach a turning point. Though this is a partial eclipse, it plants seeds for the total Full Moon/lunar eclipse of July 27 conjunct retrograde Mars and the South Node – which may end up being the real transformational boiling point of the summer. More on that later.

So, what can you expect from next week’s solar eclipse? Depends on where it falls in your chart. It happens just before my birthday, four degrees from my Sun. Does this mean I’m ready for another major move?  I’ve certainly been feeling the pressure to leave San Diego, but the next step is not yet apparent. I’m thinking a big move is likelier to happen after my birthday in 2019, when a lunar eclipse joins Pluto on my Sun. Meanwhile, I’m letting the pressure build.

What are this summer’s eclipses activating for you? Find out by ordering April Elliott Kent’s fabulous Followed by a Moonshadow eclipse report. And, here’s a great interview with April on the upcoming eclipses!

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