Right about now, we may all be asking ourselves, “What is reality?” The emotionally powerful, groundbreaking political conventions in the U.S. and their noisy aftermath knocked out of the headlines hotspots such as Kenya (more than 100 schools deliberately burned), Turkey (a failed military-coup with bloody consequences), and Syria (protracted, increasingly brutal civil war). From expressing in radically bold ways (all that Mars/Uranus energy discussed in the July AstroCasts), the planets now shift their angular relationships to question the nature of our very existence. Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces have been in and out of a tension-filled square relationship with each other since last Fall, periodically bringing the archetypal themes of harsh reality (Saturn) and idealistic dreams (Neptune) to our awareness. The first exact alignment on November 26, 2015 correlated with an unprecedented number of refugees flooding the borders of Europe, daring to dream of a safe, free and prosperous life. The second exact Saturn/Neptune square on June 17, 2016 saw a resurgence of this crisis: tremendous loss of life at sea due to human traffickers unconscionably overcrowding the boats to freedom, increasingly fearful public reactions to the threat of terrorism streaming in among the throngs, and reactive governments putting up even more barriers to movement rather than uniting to find a win/win resolution. Less than two degrees apart heading into their next exact alignment on September 10th, the Saturn/Neptune square expands into a powerful T-Square configuration during this period when the planets of communication and relationships, Mercury and Venus in Virgo, move into the Saturn/Neptune degree space, which could trigger the existential crisis just waiting to happen: reality as we know it is in a state of dissolution. Wherever in our own lives are we not seeing things or people for what or who they are, not dealing directly with them in ways that serve our true beingness, we are being urged to do so now.
Mercury in Virgo moves into the Saturn/Neptune alignment August 6th through 7th, provoking us to look at our own perceptions of matter (Saturn) and spirit (Neptune). Assuming both exist, then the issue becomes how to positively use the tension of the cross-purposes square in order to unite their efforts in a common goal. Employing the Gaia principle that sees the world evolving as one single living, self-regulating complex system, we understand spirit is infused in all matter and is the synergistic thread connecting one unique molecular structure to another, no matter how distinct and separate they are perceived to be. When we begin to see the reality of who we are, as consciousness that is part of everything and not limited to our physical bodies, we experience a paradigm shift that influences every choice we make thereafter. The reality of an enchanted cosmos has equal footing with the physical material reality. Magic happens. We see the earth, the sky, the trees, as well as all inorganic matter breathing as we do. Even if we haven’t yet experienced this, it is not hard to imagine how this would transform the very way we communicate with each other, and furthermore how it would open up new forms of communication with all “things.”
Back to reality morphing before our very eyes, the shocking new political scene in the U.S. has us seriously questioning what is going on. The current presidential campaign is quite a spectacle, and in proper “as above, so below” fashion, Venus in precision-focused Virgo and Mars in freedom of speech-loving Sagittarius, the archetypes of woman and man, enter into a defiant square on August 6th. As Venus and Mars duke it out in the heavens, a repurposed Battle of the Sexes for the 21st century plays out on earth with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump contending for the highest office of the land. No less than the dominance of a dysfunctional patriarchy is at stake in this competition. Regardless of where one stands on the issues, a woman winning the U.S. presidency for the first time ever would be an incredibly moving and inspiring event for institutionally undervalued women around the world.
Fresh with memories of his collision with the world (Saturn) and the other-world (Neptune), Mercury in Virgo tunes into fundamental issues of truth when he trines Pluto in Capricorn on August 10th, bringing into focus that which is truly important in the grand cosmic system. With high-level Virgo discernment, Mercury’s alignment with Pluto gives him a better handle on what is real and what isn’t, opening the door for strategizing access to powerful resources. This positive alignment between the planet of perception and the planet of power in practical earth signs should provide a mental boost of clarity as Mercury moves into his shadow, the degree space of 15° to 29° Virgo he will travel three times due to his impending retrograde commencing August 31st. In this first pass, Mercury will make mental notes of the issues popping up so he can begin to lay the groundwork for a meaningful response to their needs during the retrograde period.
After a volatile start to the summer, with acts of terrorism showing us how deep our existential reality crisis is, the cosmos shifts from shocking upheaval to effective management of our spiritual purpose. Now that it has us awake to what is really going on, the cosmos is asking us in its neutral, self-regulating fashion to put our attention to healing the collective and individual imbalances in our grand system of existence. Hopefully in the process we will discover that sorrow and suffering is a result of a collective mindset that bars us from experiencing the natural connectedness to that system. Venus in Virgo creates yet another restless T-square when she plugs into the Saturn/Neptune alignment August 13th through 14th, building up the tension to such an extent we will likely need to deal with it one way or another, especially in relationships. Under the influence of this challenging configuration, we may need to make amends for something we’ve done, as the Pope Francis recently did by visiting Auschwitz, or as President Obama did by visiting Hiroshima at the time the last Saturn/Neptune square was unfolding in June. With this Venusian infused T-square in our face, however, symbolically reaching out to reconnect with those who have egregiously suffered may not be enough. Emphasizing the need to manifest constructive solutions, Saturn stations direct on August 13th, his disciplined energies intensified to aid us in the work of reconciling whatever is at odds in our lives. Leading into the end phase of the Saturn/Neptune square, itself the third-quarter “crisis of conscience” square in this 30-year cycle, we will need more than photo ops to manifest (Saturn) our imaginings (Neptune) of a world where we truly understand how we all are connected. We need an acute awareness of what is at stake and to allow ourselves to be stretched way out of our comfort zones and into uncertainty. Being in in this burning state of the now with no focus on the next moment creates magical openings. The essential message here is we need to realize that disconnectedness with everyone and everything is perpetuated through millennia of conditioned thinking. The Venus/Saturn/Neptune alignment may dissolve rigid thought barriers to open us to the vibration of compassion and love.
Primed for a transformational experience of the heart, Venus follows Mercury’s path and forms a flowing trine to Pluto on August 17th, their connected current running deep to where life meets death and the reality of What Is becomes clear as a bell. Essential resources, profound connections with others, and the courage to dive into them relegate the masks of false romance to the inconsequential games of the unconscious machine. The deep experience of intimacy emerges as a force so penetrating it regenerates every cell with the lightness of being.
If the urgency to take action hasn’t quite landed yet, the Full Moon on August 18th may dramatically awaken the need. Representing the observer and the avatar respectively, the Moon in Aquarius opposite the Sun in Leo activate an inertia busting lunar eclipse that pulls into its vortex the planetary energies at play. The Sun in Leo represents our heart core focused on creating for the sheer joy of it. The Moon in Aquarius represents our soul bringing forth into this lifetime the memories of her ancient lineage. She is the neutral observer seeing the growth of consciousness over many lifetimes. The Aquarius Moon offers the Leo Sun the ability to connect the dots so he can create a life that builds from that historical knowledge and take our path of consciousness to the next level. With the Saturn/Neptune square in the undertow of the eclipse, ecological issues may also come to the fore as the erosion of the earth and the living, breathing entities on its surface bring about a new awareness of the great losses as well as the responsibility we share in what we are doing to this planet. Will we collectively and individually be able to grasp the Saturnian reality of this? In one sector of earth’s holographic ecosystem we have streams of beings flooding out of war zones and the complex issues related to that eruption of dis-ease. Increasingly devastating violence and unsustainable economic policies are as integrally connected to this problem as is the systematic degradation to the natural world that is forcing resource starved populations to migrate en masse to local systems unable to cope with their influx. Operating under the Gaia principal, the fact that our trees, for example, are dying at an alarming rate in pandemic proportions. If the refugee crisis isn’t real enough for us, the unprecedented number of dead trees is probably right in our proverbial back yard. In California alone, 66 million trees have perished over the last five years, more than 27 million just in 2015. The kingpins of earth’s ecosystem, trees represent our very breath and today’s generation is too far removed from a time when forests untouched by man were “filled with trees of mythic proportions and biblical age,” as Charles E. Little wrote in his book, The Dying of the Trees: The Pandemic in America’s Forests. “It was said that a tree squirrel could travel from the Atlantic shore to the Mississippi River without once dropping to the ground.” Now our forests are growing silent, says Little. “In the course of my research, I have learned things I wish I had not learned. I have learned that the trees are dying. And that the more trees die, the more will die. I have learned that we have crossed the threshold.” It is our response to the dying trees, says Little, that is at the heart of the matter and “the only antidote to despair is to stay firm in the belief that, as William Wordsworth put it in Tintern Abbey, ‘nature never did betray the heart that loved her.’ We must begin to love her as we have never been asked to love before.” Perhaps the trees are dramatically sacrificing themselves as one of many symbolic acts presented by the cosmos in order that we may learn compassion and an awareness of the unity of all existence. For now, what we need to do is take responsibility for ourselves, for the life we chose. As the culmination of this lunar cycle that began at the August 2nd New Moon, this Full Moon Eclipse may bring us recognition for the essential daily efforts we’ve made to open to the creative power of unconditional love. This first in a series of three eclipses may further motivate us to unshackle ourselves from the mental constructs of fear. If we realize the mind creates overwhelming mountains out of molehills, we can break them down choice by choice. It is clear we need a paradigm shift but what will bring that about is the slow, steady drip, drip, drip of growing consciousness. Just add effort and watch it grow.
Here’s the data (using Pacific Time and planetary positions rounded to the nearest whole degree, unless otherwise noted):
August 6 – Mercury square Saturn at 10° Virgo/Sagittarius at 6:18 a.m.
August 6 – Venus square Mars at 2° Virgo/Sagittarius at 5:20 p.m.
August 7 – Mercury opposite Neptune at 11° Virgo/Pisces at 9:25 a.m.
August 10 – Mercury trine Pluto at 15° Virgo/Capricorn at 4:23 p.m.
August 13 – Saturn station direct at 10° Sagittarius at 2:51 a.m.
August 13 – Venus square Saturn at 10° Virgo/Sagittarius at 7:31 a.m.
August 14 – Venus opposite Neptune at 11° Virgo/Pisces at 10:04 a.m.
August 16 – Sun trine Uranus at 24° Leo/Aries at 1:23 p.m.
August 17 – Venus trine Pluto at 15° Virgo/Capricorn at 7:15 p.m.
August 18 – Moon opposite Sun (Full Moon Lunar Eclipse) at 26° Aquarius/Leo at 2:26 a.m.