*All times are PDT, unless stated otherwise. Planetary positions are expressed as the degree (rounded to the nearest whole degree) followed by the sign.
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On August 23rd at 4:21 am, the Sun bids adieu to his home sign of fixed fire Leo and enters mutable earth Virgo. Prepare for a rich mental life as Virgo, which is ruled by curious Mercury, delves powerfully and deeply into intellectual analysis and, much to the chagrin of many a parent, is constantly asking “Why?” Dane Rudhyar likens the transition from Leo to Virgo to the ancient Greek Sphinx with the body of a lion and head of the virgin: “The Sphinx is the symbolical expression of the crisis which must come at a certain stage of evolution if the creative, self-projective, dramatic aloneness of the human ego (Leo) is to become the expectant, potentially fruitful aloneness of the human soul (Virgo).” At that moment, the Leonean ego “begins to realize that the whole universe does not revolve around itself and that it is a participant in some vast wholeness of being whose seeming infinity is awe-inspiring, yet compelling.” Perhaps that is why Virgo is best known as the sign of Service. The word itself implies doing something for someone or something other than oneself. Virgo is not just willing, but expects herself to do for Other in order to feel – and fulfill – her part of the greater whole. Always expectant, she reverently embraces the energies required for critical mass to resolve into transformation.
In the early morning hours of August 25th, Mars at 14° Cancer squares Saturn 14° Libra. As discussed in our last AstroCast, this aspect is the dénouement of the combative planet activating last summer’s harsh T-square between Uranus, Pluto and Saturn, filling the empty seat in Cancer to create a Cardinal Grand Cross. This has been a tension filled summer, on the global stage and most likely in many a personal life. However, those who acted rashly a couple of weeks ago as Mars squared Uranus and opposed Pluto, are now facing the consequences as Mars squares Saturn. Daddy is coming to town to restore order. Think the London riots just for one example. The bright side of all this tension – yes there is one! – is that when faced with major difficulties the mind is forced, according to Rudhyar, to “dig down into the roots of reality and to fathom deeply unconscious vital processes.” By becoming more self-aware, we can assume greater positive power in our lives, which will in turn positively affect others we touch. Mars in Cancer square Saturn in Libra could make us overly protective of what we perceive to be ours and incite us to hand out harsh judgments to those who we perceive to have violated our security. At its highest potential, however, we will realize that we all share this one Earth together and bring those unconscious vital processes to light so we can make more enlightened choices that consider all. Many opportunities are being given at this moment for the strong to protect the weak and the haves to help the have-nots. Saturn is exalted in Libra and could be planting seeds for the leveling of society, what could be called a “Levelution.”
Also starting on August 25th and operating through September 2nd is the activation of a Grand Earth Trine involving Venus and the Sun in Virgo, Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter in Taurus – a much welcomed counterbalance to all the stressful aspects we’ve been going through! First off, Venus at 5° Virgo trines Pluto at 5° Capricorn. Just in the beginning stages of this long transit though Capricorn (2008-2024), Pluto has already shown itself to be focused fundamentally on reorganizing large societal structures such as government and corporations, purging elements and transforming systems that do not serve the whole of society. The last time Pluto was in Capricorn (1762 to 1777) the Free Masons and other secret societies were launched. Their subversive activities against oppressive rulers led to the Declaration of Independence and subsequent revolution in the U.S. Interestingly, many today are writing about what they call the “Plutocracy,” the ürber-wealthy few that have a vast influence over the masses. True to the nature of Pluto this is happening behind the scenes invisible to the majority of the public. Perhaps the true nature of the Plutocracy, which is fueled by greed, will come to light during this long phase, or counter groups may form against them. For this short transit with Venus, there is the possibility that her sense of equality could influence new forms that are being created and offer up more efficient systems that could take root in a “Levelutionary” process.
How do you really spell relief? Mercury 18° Leo, stations direct on August 26th, at 3:03 pm. Now we can get back to business as the planet of thinking and communication begins his third pass over the space from 18° Leo to 1° Virgo. The third and final pass through this space is when things can be resolved or completed. Mercury in Leo at its best inspires us to be the spokesperson for that which activates our joy and passion. While receiving impressions may not be the strong suit here, making them certainly is!
During the period August 24-26 both Venus and the Sun at 3° Virgo will oppose Chiron at 3° Pisces. Chiron is an asteroid known as the Wounded Healer and although he is not considered a major actor in the celestial play of astral bodies it is good to be aware of his subtle yet profound archetype. Chiron represents the potential we have to turn our greatest wound into our greatest asset. The very act of consciously honoring where we feel incomplete and allowing that acknowledgement to flow outward in a purposeful way becomes the greatest point of healing. During this time if old wounds are triggered seize upon the opportunity to turn that pain into gain. Whatever comes up could be wounds we have suffered or inflicted on others. In any event, compassion for Self and Other is the key to heal fractured relationships with loved ones.
On August 28th, shortly after sunrise, the Sun at 5° Virgo follows in Venus’ path to trine Pluto at 5° Capricorn. The Sun here gives more will power to Pluto’s mission of reformation, internal and external. With Virgo’s attention to detail and the easy flow of energy that a trine gives, we have the potential to be an efficient and effective power broker with the ability to overhaul the particular arena in our personal charts that is activated by this transit.
Just after sunset on August 28th we have Moon conjunct Sun – a New Moon at 5° Virgo, the beginning of a new “seed” period. Time to clean house! With both the Sun and Moon in Virgo, we’ll have more discernment of what works and what doesn’t, and that will trigger our highest sense of selection to edit out what holds us back. Purity of mind, body and spirit is health-conscious Virgo’s all-in-one goal. Honesty, however, is imperative, as Virgo must first turn her laser sights on Self lest she be blind to her own faults and only focus on those of others. Since Virgo is the last stage of development of the Self (the domain of the first six Zodiacal signs beginning with Aries) and must prepare for the first stage of the development of the Group, or Society (the function of the last six signs beginning with Libra), she is in a constant state of flux as she sets herself up for the great leap. Even her ruling planet, Mercury, brings to mind an unstable element that works best in an amalgam, fused with other elements. Perhaps this constant state of what Rudhyar calls “impending crisis” (for loss of Self) compels Virgos to seek a state of ever-illusive fixedness, which appears to those around her as selfishness or lack of tolerance. The only way for her to feel her strength is to connect to the earth beneath her feet. With mutability as her calling, Virgo’s challenge is to keep her eye on the future and operate in this unstable evolutionary environment without getting unhinged. Only then can she make her mercurial magic.
On August 29th, we reach the next leg of the Grand Earth Trine as Venus at 10° Virgo trines Jupiter at 10° Taurus. Apprenticeship in the art of relating (Venus in Virgo) turns to the philosophical relationship between humans and earth – and her resources (Jupiter in Taurus). Venus now brings her feminine energies to bear on this controversial issue, activating “a rich faith in human progress [and] the power of social cooperation.”
In the early morning hours of August 30th, Jupiter takes Mercury’s place as it stations and begins a nearly four month retrograde stint. Wherever Jupiter is at play in your chart, i.e. what house it is in, remember to pay attention and not overdo or overindulge. Rudhyar wrote of Jupiter in Taurus (in the middle of WW II): “What is at stake is the nature and the control of the means necessary to achieve… an efficient and functional organization of the resources of the entire surface of the Earth; in other words, who will be the organizer of a new world-culture, and what means will be used? With Jupiter spending more time in Taurus due to the retrograde, we will be encouraged to review this question at a time when the state of the environment and the control of resources are exponentially more vital than they were during WW II. The increasing scarcity of clean water and limited supply of energy sources such as oil determine whom we deal with and what constitutes our “national interest.” Jupiter will station direct on Christmas day, but that is for another AstroCast.
On September 2nd, Sun at 10° Virgo trines retrograde Jupiter 10° Taurus, completing the Grand Earth Trine. A philosophical attitude open to new insights may prevail during this time. With retrogrades, we are asked to go within and reflect so it is a great time to tune into the heart of your joy – what it takes to nurture it and make it grow. With these planets in practical Earth signs, the answer may be simpler than you might imagine. Also, the so-called easy aspects can be accelerators speeding things up such that they may happen sooner than we expected, so be aware and attune to a reasonable pace.
Except for the Moon in her daily travels, the celestial energies remain relatively quiet until September 8th. However, there are ongoing influences to keep in mind: Venus and the Sun have been traveling together since the beginning of August and will do so until mid-September. This offers a sweet counterpoint and avenue of release from the agitation. Whichever house they appear in each of our charts has the potential to be graced with art and love. Furthermore, Venus and the Sun’s participation in the Grand Earth Trine with Jupiter in Taurus and Pluto in Capricorn creates a subtle yet profound undercurrent – no bells and whistles, sirens or explosions, but more like the deep still expansive teaming-with-life mother earth, Pachamama, maintaining her absolute composure under the tempestuous heavens above, willing us to relate and get along, to find power in peace. The set up of this Grand Earth trine started back on July 6 with Jupiter’s first 120° aspect to Pluto and with the giant planet now retrograde it will have its next exact hit to Pluto on October 28. Throughout this time, they are never more than 5° apart, making this a powerful time to have faith in, expand and expose our natural endowments, the buried treasure within.