The cosmic imperative to get real intensifies during this period. Yet, what does “real” look like? Maybe getting real means to finally address our fears and survival based motivations. Maybe it is to become aware of how our fears are affecting the current state of our lives. Is that state chaotic or stable? Does it seem depressed and limited or loving and full of opportunity? If some form of chaos and depression are looking at us in the mirror, then that is our first clue we are not seeing things as they are, not accepting what is and perhaps wishing, dreaming we were anywhere but in our own little hell hole fighting to get out. The current planetary transits are bringing these issues front and center. As discussed in the last AstroCast, Saturn and Neptune’s third quarter “crisis of consciousness” square is tightening and now less than three weeks from making it’s third and last exact aspect, marking the end phase of this stage of their 36-year cycle that began with their first exact square last fall. The planets of reality and structure (Saturn), and dreams and boundlessness (Neptune) are at odds with each other, which archetypally correlates on earth to these themes playing out in growth-producing agitating ways somewhere in our lives. Maybe there is an unpleasant situation at work or in a personal relationship where we’ve allowed a line to be crossed, a boundary breached, and it has festered in that condition for a while because we largely ignored it (perhaps due to fear of confrontation). Well now we may be forced to deal with it directly because something has changed that made it necessary. Over the last couple of weeks Mercury and Venus formed T-squares with Saturn and Neptune. Over this next period Mars and the Sun, as well as the New Moon Solar Eclipse, will do the same, and given their collective archetypal profiles, galvanize the will to act. The more we take responsibility for our part in whatever we need to address, the more this becomes an opportunity to grow rather than just survive.
Fortunately astral help is on the way in the form of a helpful dose of philosophically discerning energy that will aid in our endeavors to re-balance our responsibility in relationships. As this period opens, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter are conjunct in Virgo and when they share the same space, no matter what the sign, they have a lovely way of lifting our spirits. In Virgo they also have the uncanny ability to get into the details of something and see just what part of the equation isn’t working. No wonder the archetype of Virgo is associated with the harvest and separating the wheat from the chaff. Mercury first conjuncts Jupiter on August 22nd, turns retrograde on August 30th, then conjuncts Jupiter again on September 2nd, thus book-ending this period with an extended infusion of practical meaningful perceptions. The Mercury/Jupiter planetary pair will assist us in broadening our viewpoints and also in expressing what we are experiencing as a way to get everything out on the table. While taking care not to exaggerate but to be truthful, talk and lots of it is likely the only way out of that unproductive situation at work or to smooth out that kink in the personal relationship. The quality of that talking must also take the other person or group into consideration in order to find a solution. Venus after all is also part of this configuration and when she kisses Jupiter on August 27th, then retrograde Mercury on August 28th, she brings the language of love to the table. And yes, love can be expressed in the work place as well as the intimate spaces of our lives. It may not be dressed up in hugs and kisses, but compassion is its essential quality. Even if there is an adversarial situation, when compassion enters the room, fear leaves, and that is where the bigger picture comes in. That adversary is likely as afraid as we are. So that begs us to ask, what is their story? What are they afraid of? If we can back down our ego long enough to consider these kinds of questions, the possibilities for win/win solutions will open wide and perhaps that hell hole we’ve created in our mind will transform into a place of growth that is exactly the right place to be at that moment in time. The three-week Mercury retrograde period ending on September 21st is generally more conducive to reviewing a situation rather than commencing anything new. Any direct action taken during this time could be quite an internal one as the review may simply bring us to the realization that in fact we must do something to remedy a situation. Then it is a matter of considering adjustments to our approach to solving any problems at hand and waiting for the right moment to implement them.
Shortly after Mercury has his first close encounter with Jupiter, the Sun enters Virgo on August 22nd, bringing to four the number of planets in this humble sign of service. All that mutable energy can be put to good use in our mission to change a bad situation into something acceptable. Dane Rudhyar writes that the gift of Virgo is “tolerance.” By that he means, “to bear the responsibility of an incessant quest for broader knowledge, less constricted feelings and a more adjustable behavior. It means the ability to stand up in readiness and with open heart when God knocks at the door and summons the individual – and the nation to their greater destinies. It is the ability to grow by becoming ever more inclusive.” Nothing less than the total transfiguration of the way our consciousness functions is Virgo’s assignment, and the Sun here infuses this mission into the very core of our being, teaching us, according to Rudhyar, that “the one thing necessary is simply to be still and silently to bear the pressure of evolution, the inevitability of the metamorphosis.” Rudhyar maintains that the ego structures are still necessary but that they be “repurposed” to allow our unique gifts of the spirit to be fulfilled. “Ownership for the sake of the owner,” says Rudhyar, “should change into management for the sake of the community – just as the self-seeking and jealous attitude of the ego has eventually to be superseded by the compassionate and all-inclusive understanding of the Self.” This is the highest form of Virgoan service attainable. So as the Sun, along with Mercury, Venus and Jupiter journey through the celestial space of Virgo, and perhaps correlating to a personal crisis of change at work or in our personal lives, may we find compassionate tolerance in meeting new people and having new experiences that are different from what we know. May we accept new information that fundamentally changes our consciousness to make it more inclusive. Ultimately may we find peace right where we are in the eye of the storm of evolutionary change and allow the inevitable to unfold.
A challenge to that peace may be experienced as Mars in Sagittarius conjuncts Saturn on August 24th and squares Neptune in Pisces on August 25th. Mars is at his best when he enjoys unfettered movement and in Sagittarius he’ll want to cover a lot of ground. Bumping into the Saturn/Neptune configuration, he may suddenly find major obstacles or that the ground beneath his feet has turned into something quite unfamiliar – and it is anything but solid. He’ll need to learn how to use the archetypal forces available from the likes of Saturn and Neptune in order to accomplish anything. If he doesn’t, a high level of frustration is the likely outcome. Answering successfully to the conjunction with Saturn requires total body focus and disciplined effort. It also requires addressing fears of the Martian variety. For example: What if I am unable to get what I want? What if I don’t have enough courage to do what I must do? What if I lose all sense of my desire? Mars conjunct Saturn may also be the trigger that forces that pesky unresolved issue to be handled, like now, in the best “captain of industry” way possible through methodical, time-released, purposeful action. When encountering Neptune, Mars may find his drive is dissipated altogether, if it is a purely selfish one. Neptune acts like a subtle anti-aphrodisiac to Mars when his motivations are not backed by an all-inclusive spiritual intent. That is why expressing physical energy through such disciplines as yoga or tai chi are highly recommended under this signature for these are holistic disciplines that see the body as a temple, a vessel through which spirit operates, and endeavors to maintain clear channels in the physical to keep energy flowing. In effect this entire period, the alignment between Mars and Saturn in freedom loving Sagittarius in square to Neptune in his home sign of mystical Pisces, may force us to look at how we go about achieving our dreams. What are we doing to build a strong foundation for our life’s purpose? If we experience anger or frustration at not getting what we want, or find ourselves at odds with someone, do we delve internally into our fears about that or just project blame onto something or someone outside ourselves without taking responsibility for our part in creating the situation? If we find ourselves hitting a wall, we could tune into the Mercury/Venus/Jupiter stellium in Virgo to keep it lighthearted, simple and focused on the essential as we work up the confidence to keep it real.
While still in close conjunction with Mercury and Jupiter, Venus shifts focus when she transcends the metamorphosis stage, having achieved her gift of tolerance, and enters the life of full social graces in Libra on August 29th. This is the sign that Venus rules so she is strong here and concentrated on relating with others in harmonious and creative ways. “Ease” is the gift of Libra, according to Rudhyar. “It is the sense of being lived by a greater life which embraces and contains all the components of a situation, or of a relationship of which one is a part.” Rudhyar asks, “If you and I vitally realize, and not only intellectually conceive, that we are both functioning parts of a whole, with the wholeness of which we have felt ourselves one – how could there be lack of ease between us?” Venus in Libra seeks a true partner, not a ruler of her heart or someone who will cater to her every need. She wants the creative exchange that comes with mutual respect, equality in joint purpose and the knowing that she and her partner are working together as unique parts of a greater whole.
The Virgo New Moon on September 1st infuses the gift of tolerance into the new lunar cycle. This astral event is also a solar eclipse and therefore a powerful change agent for anything that seems stuck in a dysfunctional pattern. The theme of this eclipse is “realism.” Included in the 19 North Saros cycle series, it asks us to see things as they are, rather than as we wish them to be. Imagining the pure potential in someone or something by itself is insufficient. We must also see the choices made, unconsciously or not, that determine the quality of life we experience in any relationship, in our work, in our families, ad infinitum. This particular eclipse is tightly aligned with the Saturn/Neptune square so it doubles down on the realism imperative, to dig as deep as we can to understand the truth about life in the cosmos. While we look at things as they are in the material world and endeavor to stabilize them in order to reduce chaos and increase harmony, we are also being asked to look at a subtle yet important facet of this picture, which is the need to come to terms with and integrate with the enchanted cosmos, the anima mundi as Richard Tarnas refers to it, that naturally exists but which is widely discounted, distrusted or vehemently disdained in our rational world. When we think of getting real it rarely seems to include anything even slightly magical and yet there is a wide, wide mystical world out there that is woefully undervalued and underutilized. We have identified so deeply with the collective mind that anything outside of science and reason is invalidated. How did we allow our souls to be so disconnected from the life we live? Why do we choose to live in a mechanical mind space where fear and survival dominates? As the Sun squares Saturn just hours after the eclipse on September 1st, we are being asked to take responsibility for our life in the material reality. As the Sun segues into his opposition to Neptune on September 2nd, a quiet yet powerful voice asks us to take responsibility for our soul as an integral part of the cosmic non-material reality. What we call dreams can live harmoniously with what we call reality. They are not mutually exclusive, as the fearful reasoning mind would have us believe. How many times have we thought that to get real means to give up on our dreams? On the contrary, as the New Moon Solar Eclipse forms a T-square with Saturn and Neptune, we are being given a fresh energetic download of new data. If we pay attention to it rather than allow our mind to wander through incessant distractions, we may be directed to repurpose our dreams so they are lit from within by cosmic enchantment. Then manifestation of our dreams in the material world, so infused with consciousness, will bring about the peace of being complete, whole and connected to spirit, as is meant to be.
Here’s the data (using Pacific Time and planetary positions rounded to the nearest whole degree, unless otherwise noted):
August 22 – Mercury conjunct Jupiter at 26° Virgo at 2:05 a.m.
August 22 – Sun at 0° Virgo at 9:39 a.m.
August 24 – Mars conjunct Saturn at 10° Sagittarius at 4:27 a.m.
August 25 – Mars square Neptune at 11° Sagittarius/Pisces at 11:57 p.m.
August 27 – Venus conjunct Jupiter at 27° Virgo at 3:29 p.m.
August 28 – Mercury conjunct Venus at 29° Virgo at 11:32 p.m.
August 29 – Venus at 0° Libra at 7:07 p.m.
August 30 – Mercury station retrograde at 29° Virgo at 6:04 a.m.
September 1 – Moon conjunct Sun (New Moon Solar Eclipse) at 9° Virgo at 2:03 a.m.
September 1 – Sun square Saturn at 10° Virgo/Sagittarius at 8:22 p.m.
September 2 – Sun opposite Neptune at 11° Virgo/Pisces at 9:38 a.m.
September 2 – Mercury conjunct Jupiter at 29° Virgo at 10:18 a.m.