Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Jupiter enters Leo, 8-1
Jupiter trioctile Pluto, 8-1
New Moon at 16Le03, 8-8
Ceres Retrograde Station at 18Ar06, 8-13
Jupiter quincunx Chiron, 8-17
Uranus quintile Pluto, 8-18
Saturn trine Uranus, 8-21
Full Moon at 29Aq38, 8-22
Pluto Direct Station at 14Sa54, 8-26
Mars enters Virgo, 8-29
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
My first impression of August is that it is going to be quite a bumpy ride. There are two very significant planetary storms coming up, centered on heavy hitting planets like Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The planets involved in these storms seem to be in antagonistic patterns, making for stress and tension both in the sky and here on earth. And then there is Pluto's direct station on the 26th, an influence that generally brings long-standing problem areas to a climax. You can usually count on some badly needed changes to happen at this time. On the other hand, I don't want to sound like such a "doom and gloom" person here, since there are also some very lovely and useful energies heading our way as well. I suspect if you're comfortable with change and growth, this should be an OK month. But if you're more rigid in your attitudes, you might find it harder to weather this time. Leave your life open to new perspectives and be ready to play. Life is taking off in a new direction!
August is a busy month on paper. I count 4 "big aspects", 2 sign changes and a pair of stations. That should be enough to keep us hopping.
Jupiter starts out the month by moving from Cancer into Leo on the 1st for a year's stay. This new placement ushers in a time when the individual can truly shine, but only if he or she can get past those "ego barriers" that prevent warm, intimate contact with people around you. Jupiter is the principle of expansion and moving beyond boundaries, while Leo is a fiery sign that describes the descent of spirit into the individual. Ideally, this increases a sense of warmth, enthusiasm and generous openness, an expansion of the person to regal proportions. More than likely, at least at first, it will produce a swelled head in most people. Leo is synonymous with being egotistical, interested in "me, me, me!" in the popular mind. Much of this is simply insecurity and trying to "look good", but Leo is more interested in himself than most signs (that's his purpose as a zodiacal symbol, afterall). Jupiter can exaggerate a weak ego just as easily as a strong one. For good measure, he can also increase the size of the blindspot that keeps a person from seeing what a butt-head he's acting as. The trick this coming year is to be yourself in a healthy fashion, acting willfully in pursuit of your own interests without running roughshod over others. If you find yourself butting heads with people, it's time to be a little more aware of yourself. Share the stage with others instead of hogging the spotlight. Life is more interesting if you include many characters in the script, while a play with only one star can get boring. "Ego" seems to get a bad reputation in most circles. However, a healthy and balanced ego is actually a vital tool for surviving in the world, a work of living art. Time to work on your play! Jupiter slips into Virgo on 2003-8-27.
Also on the 1st, after being in Leo only 6 hours, Jupiter makes its first aspect, a trioctile with Pluto. With this aspect, Jupiter is "open for business" in Leo. It seems the first speedbump encountered by this ego energy is the deep unconscious (Pluto) itself, which is why I raised a number of warning flags previously. Trioctiles usually introduce an element of friction or discord, bringing together two influences that fail to engage harmoniously. If the ego is out of control, Pluto will engineer a situation or two to make the problem abundantly clear in a most dramatic manner. Just look in your life and see where the soap operas are cropping up -- there's plenty of work for you there! Fortunately, this aspect is only a short-lived single pass connection, so it's overt effects will pass quickly (weeks, not months). However, it sets the tone for the entire Jupiter in Leo year, so you may be cleaning up your act for quite some time. Swallow your pride and get to work -- it's easier in the long run.
There is a lot of "go-get-em" fire sign energy in this new moon chart. The lunar month coming up is a great time to make your plans and carry them out, re-creating your world a little more in your own image. With Mars closely conjunct the new moon and trine Pluto, there is much energy at your disposal for pursuing your dreams. Just be a little careful if other people are involved. With 5 bodies in Leo, there is a great deal of ego energy floating about. That's not bad in itself, but considering the level of evolvement for most people, the scene is ripe for some conflict between individuals. Remember Leo can be magnanimous and not just pompous. Jupiter sextile Venus is a most favorable signature for virtually any project, but be certain to use some of it for fun or social ventures. Between Leo and Aquarius (8 planets total) there is a tendency to fall into behavorial ruts. Don't forget that this month is about jumping out of old habits -- leave the door open for welcome changes. Otherwise, this is a wonderful time to indulge yourself -- have some fun!
Ceres hits her retrograde station, 18Ar06, on the 13th. She will be backing up to 3Ar48 by Nov 23. Ceres is the Great Mother, how we fit into the Web of Life, our loving and nurturing connections with others. She describes how we give and take with others, how we are fed and nourished. It seems a bit funny to put this maternal figure in the most masculine of signs, Aries. When I wrote about Ceres entering Aries last May, I talked about the need to look after yourself first before you have enough left over for others. As Ceres approaches her retrograde cycle, I think it's even more important to take care of yourself, since Mom in reverse gear can indicate a time when external support is hard to come by. Strength comes from within (in the long run), even if you need a little help now and then to get started. Pace yourself and expend your energy in a measured fashion. It's critical that you don't get too wrapped up in your own needs, however. Ceres in Aries can be a real fighter in protection of her young ones, a proverbial mother hen with a nasty beak. As always, it's a matter of balance. This is a time to reexamine the role of nurture and support in your life -- you may need to make some changes.
Jupiter is quincunx Chiron on the 17th, the 1st pass of a 3 contact connection. The other two contacts are on 2003-1-29 and 2003-6-21. Here's the second big speedbump for Jupiter: old fears and misconceptions from the past that prevent us from prospering. Chiron is a complex, multi-faceted planetary symbol, but before you can reach the more sublime levels of this part of the psyche, you must first retrieve and redeem the "baggage from the past" that is holding you down. The Jupiter enthusiasm and love of life can be restricted by numerous fears and social conditionings that we pick up in the early part our lives. We encounter resistance to our natural exuburance as a child, that sense of "the world belongs to me!", as we are growing up. For society's sake, we are taught to fit in, cooperate, take orders, be a "good" person (however society defines "good"). Granted, some of these lessons are necessary (otherwise social interaction would be impossible and Jupiter would hate that!). But the heavy handed, all pervasive and mostly unconscious nature of this early conditioning makes it nearly impossible later in life to modify or abandon this programming. It's just the way things are, as invisible as the air we breathe. To make a long story short, being a "good" person prevents the growth of a healthy ego. Quincunxes show where parts of our lives are interfering with each other. Jupiter is about getting your needs met and this aspect is saying we aren't on a regular basis. Look at how frustrated and afraid people are! We serve the large institutions in our world (ruled by Capricorn, Chiron's current placement), not the other way around. With this quincunx, it's time to start looking at this imbalanced way of living. Between the bleak alternatives of total selfishness and self-denying sacrifice is the middle path of joyful service that fulfills your needs and ideals. We need to reach out into the world, but do so in a way that benefits everyone, not just the few. This aspect will color most of the coming Jupiter-Leo year, so this question of balance will be an important determinent of how healthy our worldly connections become. Just remember: you can't be healthy and frustrated or afraid at the same time...
On the 18th, Uranus and Pluto are in their second quintile aspect in this long-term 7 contact story. Their first contact was on May 19 and the last is 2005-2-12. And since these planets are also in a parallel aspect (same distance south of the equator) this year (4-25 to 12-13), these early quintile connections are quite amplified in effect. Uranus and Pluto are both planets that produce deep, pivotal change. This is usually in areas that are so second nature and unconscious that we don't even realize there's anything at all there, let alone something that needs changing. It's this element of unconsciousness that makes it so hard to predict how these planets will affect us. Quintiles are a kind of wild card as well. They operate on a mental-intuitive level that quite simply changes the entire mental landscape we use to understand our realities. Things don't make sense in the same old terms anymore, requiring a major shift in perspective. On a global scale, we are faced with problems that can't be solved in the old, conventional terms. The past no longer applies. It will take a jump to a new level of awareness and courage, trying ideas that may seem like craziness right now, before we can even glimpse a solution. In the process of shifting levels, however, your whole perspective on life changes. "Leading edge" people will be the first to notice these alternatives; the "masses" may never see the light. And there will be a lot of false starts and groping in the dark in the meantime, so the shape of things to come will not be clear for some time. Nonetheless, these 3 years are a critical window of opportunity for all humanity to reorder their lives in a more wide-awake manner. Do your part of the work and keep your eyes open...
The trine of Saturn and Uranus on the 21st is the "backbone" of most of the big storm patterns this month. This trine is the first contact in a three pass cycle, with 2 more contacts on 2002-12-16 and 2003-6-24. Saturn and Uranus are extremely different energies; it's amazing they can communicate at all. It's like the business man in the 3 piece suit standing next to the punker in black with everything pierced. Yet trines are famous for smoothing out differences and making things flow smoothly. The next 10 months are an opportunity to make serious changes in the everyday basics of your life. Things that are new and novel don't seem quite as threatening as usual, and it's easier to introduce them into the daily flow of living. The force of tradition and custom is less compelling. Opening up to a series of small shifts can cascade into major changes as well, ones that can't be foreseen now. The hallmark of Uranus is suddenness, unexpectedness, an enlivening sense of "Aha!!" that changes your mental landscape in a flash. Watch out for these bolts from the blue and play with the new ideas awhile. These may be just the hints you need to get out of some deadening ruts. Life is more enjoyable when approached in the spirit of play.
Pretty much every planet is contributing to this stormy pattern, except Jupiter and Neptune. Pluto is heavily active now due to its upcoming station. The full moon axis is particularly volatile, with Mars conjunct the Sun and Uranus conjunct the Moon. That's both the dynamite stick and the match -- something big could be busting out in the next 2 weeks or so. Other planets supporting this 27 degree region (and the biggest peaks in the graph) are Saturn, Juno and Mercury. There's a need to be disciplined and a bit cautious about the way you communicate with others. There's a second group of planets around 15 degrees, loosely connected with the first: Ceres, Vesta, Venus, Pluto and Pallas. This group forms a huge 6 point star in the sky, if you fill in a missing point with the North Moon's Node. A 6th harmonic pattern like this is extremely smooth flowing -- you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. Curiously, most of these bodies are feminine, except Pluto. It's as though we need to reexamine the feminine sides of our personalities, rooting out some of the negativity that can creep in here. Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune are not very active now, but they will come into their own in early September, again.
Pluto is standing still at 14Sa54 on the 26th, about to slowly resume normal motion. The direct station of Pluto is always a critical turning point each year. He creates deep transformations in your life through a cycle of challenging you to let go of stuff that you've outgrown or that is incompatible with your true inner nature. He keeps turning the thumbscrews until you finally submit to the transition, hopefully voluntarily. This cycle starts quietly at the retrograde station (which happened on Mar 20 at 17Sa38) and grows in intensity over the next 5 months. By the time of the direct station (now!), the pressure to let go is all but irresistable. If you have some situation in your life or a personality pattern that Pluto is attacking, by now that part of you is crumbling in your hands, no matter what you do to hold it together. It's best to simply let it fall apart. There may be some pieces worth salvaging for new purposes, but basically this is all "old stuff" now. Don't look back, just move on. The empty space you've just created will attract something new in short order. It may sound like this process is something imposed on you, but the big secret is that it's simply your true self expressing itself. The only bogeyman you'll meet here is yourself.
Mars moves from Leo into Virgo on the 29th for a 6 week stay. After the brash exuburance of Leo, Mars in Virgo is quite a bit more reserved. This placement is not one where "putting on a good show" is important. Virgo just wants to get things done in the most economical way possible. The emphasis is on skill and timing, as opposed to brute strength. It may take our Warrior God some getting used to this way of working, but you know, it's really good for him. He gets more done when he uses his brains first, then his muscles. Learn a new skill, see if you can do something more mindfully. This is an excellent placement to make changes affecting your health. Virgo is naturally interested in things that help your physical vitality and Mars gives the "oomph" to get off your butt and do it. Small changes are easier, but they quickly add up. Focus on one goal at a time.