*All times are PDT, unless stated otherwise. Planetary positions are expressed as the degree followed by the sign. If there is a number following the sign, it refers to the minute position in the degree of that sign. As with an hour, there are 60 minutes in a degree. For example, 10° Virgo 43’, means 10 degrees and 43 minutes Virgo.
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The previous AstroCast ended on August 4th, and left us with a brief respite from planetary activity. But things are picking up again.
On August 8th, Retrograde Mercury leaves its home sign of detail-conscious Virgo and gets the opportunity to ham it back up in Leo for another month. This agile planet of perception and reason then opposes dreamy Neptune at 29° Leo/Aquarius, further deserting the facts on the ground in favor of high-minded ideals or, on the shadow side, the opportunity to deceive. These two previously opposed each other at 0° Virgo/Pisces on July 28th so we have essentially been in the undertow of this energy since then, and with Mercury now retracing its steps in this neighborhood, we may revisit, rethink or refine recent dreams, and maybe find a way to better articulate them. When Mercury and Neptune get involved our minds can sometimes become clouded or confused – how can we possibly form defined thoughts when we’re enveloped in the sea of consciousness? Perhaps if we focus on Unity, the connection we have to everyone and everything, we will find our collective truth.
On August 9th, Mars, the God of War, at 4° of security-conscious Cancer squares Uranus, the God of Revolution at 4° of restless Aries, then on August 10th goes on to oppose Pluto, the God of the Underworld in controlling Capricorn. Do you remember the T-Square in Cardinal signs of late June 2010 (Saturn in Libra opposite Uranus in Aries with both squaring Pluto in Capricorn)? Mars making an appearance in this era-changing theatre is what is called a “translation” in that it reactivates the powerful energies of that time by creating a Cardinal Grand Cross with those planets (four squares and two oppositions = challenging times). Mars completes the translation with its square to Saturn, exact in a couple of weeks (on August 25th – to be covered in the upcoming Virgo AstroCast). This is part of a larger cycle at work, as the energies of the outer planets play out over the course of a few years with Uranus and Pluto, which have been as close as one degree apart this summer, moving into their first exact square next summer (with six more exact hits to follow through 2015). As the previous cycles of this planetary pair demonstrated, how we see the world or how the world appears to us will most likely be completely different from what we see today. Archetypal makeovers usually have a way of creeping up on us as a collective. Before you know it, the transformers working subtly in the background (Pluto sowing its seeds), suddenly burst forth (Uranus) and manifest new structures (Saturn). As for this summer, this is Act IV of this summer’s translation play – we’ve already experienced mental Mercury, the willful Sun and relationship-oriented Venus hitting these sensitive points. Mars’ imprint on this powerful planetary relationship will stimulate the need to act spontaneously without thought of consequences, particularly in dealings that pit self (Aries) against family (Cancer), or both against our larger societal constructs such as governments and corporations (Capricorn). With Mercury also being retrograde, any thoughtless action is destined to be regretted, or could fail completely, so we all need to take a shared deep breath, many deep breaths, before charging into battle and if we want to avoid chaos, make sure our actions, however necessary, are well planned. Underscoring the need for restraint today is the Moon going void-of-course at 1:34 pm for a period of more than 31 hours. See the Leo AstroCast Part I for more on Moon void-of-course.
August 13th brings the full Moon at 20° Aquarius opposite the Sun at 20° Leo. According to Dane Rudhyar in The Universal Matrix, “In Leo, Man, the creative Thinker is born” whereas “Aquarians are called upon to give civilization a Soul.” Rudhyar also says the Sun in Leo “cannot easily meet other people as equals… because he is constantly radiating himself outward – and the momentum of that outflow makes it difficult for him to receive anything.” And in regards to the opposite sign in the Zodiac, Rudhyar equates the Moon in Aquarius as a potential “mother of civilization” that “can be entrusted with the development and sustainment of new social ideas and ideals.” Thus, this Full Moon sees the creative self, which was celebrated at the New Moon of July 30, challenged by the pull towards the creative society, its polar opposite, in order to manifest the greatest potential of each without canceling the other out.
August 16th is a triple shot day as at 5:08 am Venus reaches her superior conjunction to the Sun at 23° Leo, followed at 4:21 pm by her conjunction to retrograde Mercury at 23° Leo, followed at 6:04 pm by retrograde Mercury in inferior conjunction to the Sun at 23° Leo. Watch for Jim Sher’s article on this rare confluence of cycle-marking moments. Briefly, the Mercury/Sun inferior conjunction is the beginning of a new Mercury cycle (like a new Moon). The Venus/Sun superior conjunction is the culmination or midpoint of the Venus cycle (like a full Moon) that started with the Venus/Sun inferior conjunction on October 28, 2010, at 5° Scorpio. When Venus and the Sun share the same space in Leo, beauty rules, and we’re not just talking external good looks, which are always at the mercy of individual tastes, but the deep identification with the beauty inherent in all things – in nature, the arts, an act of kindness, a new invention, the seed of an idea. Relationships, and love, take on greater meaning filled with rich optimism and purpose. Mercury also touching the King and Queen of the heavens gives bright voice to that purpose with style and elegance. This is a highly romantic signature encoded with the sweet note that our highest potential can be fulfilled. But as is always possible with Leo, going overboard with noble words that are not backed up with solid deeds can lead to false promises and possibly a fall from grace.
And fall lovers may as on August 21st Venus at 29° Leo opposes Neptune at 29° Aquarius. The trouble with being a hopeless romantic is that no one can possibly live up to the ideal. One way to channel that idealistic energy is to put it to good use supporting a cause. That’s one thing inspiring Neptune is really great at. We can embrace our Queen archetype (Venus in Leo) and use her magnificent power to do something positive for others (Neptune in Aquarius). Reaching the 29th degree in any cycle represents the end and the beginning, the alpha and the omega of transformation. We may feel a sense of urgency to complete Venus’ regal mission in Leo as we prepare for her entry into Virgo, which occurs before the day is over. So have one last fling at strutting your stuff, because in Virgo, Venus will have a more sensible (i.e. inhibiting!) approach to relationships and a discriminating eye for anything of an artistic nature that will bring out the art critic in all of us. The challenge here is for Venus to find beauty in the lack of perfection of us mere mortals, the “delight in disorder.”
On August 22nd, before departing Leo, the Sun 29° Leo opposes Neptune 29° Aquarius. The subtle backdrop to the high theatre of this summer is the steady succession in the last couple of weeks of the personal planets facing off with the gatekeeper of the spiritual plane (significantly all at 29° Leo/Aquarius). Following Mercury (twice!) and Venus (both discussed above), now the Sun, the center of the self, makes the strongest case of all during this global period of chaos, upset and fear, that we have precious little time to wake up. Whether we sense it or not, Neptune is quietly at work, recalibrating our brains for the awakening of the next level of consciousness. Rather than anesthetizing ourselves in our addiction of choice and floating directionless in the ocean of life, we have the choice to align with the power of Unity, to feel that which connects us and activates our compassion, the energy of which will guide us intuitively day to day through the unknown, if but we would only trust.
Kimberly & Jim