Current Transits for August 2003

Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...


Full Moon at 19Aq05, 8-11
Jupiter trioctile Chiron, 8-17
Pallas Retrograde Station at 28Ar43, 8-22
Vesta enters Scorpio, 8-26
Jupiter enters Virgo, 8-27
New Moon at 4Vi01, 8-27
Mercury Retrograde Station at 26Vi19, 8-28
Pluto Direct Station at 17Sa14, 8-28
Jupiter Opposite Uranus, 8-29

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

The July lull in the action is over -- time to get busy, again! Unlike last month, when the energies never really got organized, during August they never seem to quiet down. This is particularly the case during the latter part of the month. Most of the important astrological events fall in the final week of August. It's similar to a long, slow build up, followed by a burst of fireworks all at once. Uranus and Neptune seem to be especially active now, making for an exciting and alluring atmosphere, but one in which it's hard to stay clear and grounded. Notice that we are just starting a number of new cycles this month. New influences are coming into play and replacing the old energies that are dying off, so we are being nudged into some new and possibly unexpected directions. These may be most evident after the new moon on the 27th, which coincides with Jupiter's passage from Leo into Virgo. Get ready to shift gears -- enjoy the ride!

There are a number of important events in August, most of them in the last week of the month. This includes 2 "big aspects" (both are brand new cycles), 2 sign changes and 3 stations. That should be enough to keep us hopping!

One curiousity that I noticed is the unusual number of planets that are making parallel and contraparallel aspects this month. Unlike regular aspects, which are measured as distances along the zodiac, these two are figured as distances north and south of the equator. Parallel means there are two planets the same distance either north or south, while contraparallels are two planets on opposite sides of the equator. Common wisdom says they operate like conjunctions and oppositions, combining planets together into powerful groupings. There are about 5 or 6 planets at 13-14 degrees from the equator this month, with several others nearby. As the planets move about, they form numerous parallel and contraparallel contacts, adding an extra dimension of connectedness between planets in the storm groups. These contacts are spread out throughout the month, with a peak in the action at mid-month. I'm not sure exactly how to interpret all this activity, but I'm certain that the storms will be extra potent because of it.

When you clear away all the clutter in the full moon chart, the pattern is quite simple. Venus, the Sun and possibly Jupiter (all in Leo) oppose the Moon and trine Pluto, which is under the tallest peak in the graph; Mercury is also part of the group. Mars and Saturn (which will be trine on the 12th), along with Juno, form their own little group. And then there's everything else.

With such a powerful Pluto overtone, the next two weeks will be highly transformative, especially as Pluto slows to its station. It's easy to get spooked by a prediction like that (Pluto can be quite a bogeyman at times), but those Leo planets say to look at the bright side of the situation. Emotional garbage can drag you down and hold you back -- so just take out the garbage! The less you allow extraneous influences to yank you off course, the easier your journey will be. This is a time to allow your natural optimism about your spiritual path to shine through. Clean up old situations in the coming weeks and burn off the old karmic patterns that are causing problems now. A word of caution: consideration for other people's emotional needs goes a long way now. You'll know if you're stepping on someone's toes. Stay on the high road...

Jupiter is trioctile Chiron on the 17th, the first of 3 such contacts in the cycle. The remaining contacts are on 2004-4-1 and 2004-6-5. It is important during this 10 month period to observe how you limit and prevent your own happiness and well-being in the world. Normally, Jupiter indicates the ways you reach out to your surroundings, how you make connections and invite in the benefits of being a part of your community. It's the influence that gives us enthusiasm and confidence, opening up new horizons for us. Not everyone is so lucky, however. Most people, I'd say, have some ways we hold back and keep the world at arm's length. Usually it's because you feel you need to "protect" yourself somehow or you need to "fit in" with others in a more ordinary way. So we squelch our individuality, our enthusiams, our spontaneity. It's a devil's bargain, however, because such protection never seems to bring happiness. Look where you're holding back, where you're afraid to go. See what entanglements with the world rob you of your enthusiasm and optimism -- these are areas that are robbing your energy. Take note of people and situations that sap your strength and leave you feeling like there's no support in your world. Granted, it may not be feasible to simply drop your social masks and be yourself with many people, but you can never break free unless you recognize the prison bars first. If enough of us bust out, we can change our world together. Do your part of the growth and work.

Pallas is standing still on the 22nd at 28Ar43, about to go into 3 months of reverse gear. She backs up until Dec 6, when she stands still again at 9Ar19. Pallas is a very mental, creative body. Her retrograde periods are often a time of heightened creativity, when you need to focus intently on some intellectual or artistic endeavor. You need to clear your life of distractions for a time, in order to make room for an effort that isn't part of your normal routine. It's necessary to work diligently and with focus, as Pallas is more about seeing a plan or vision through to completion than simply following your Muse mindlessly. You may become very one-sided about this work for a time, but that's part of the creative birth process. Look for what inspires you and make it tangible somehow. You may surprise yourself!

Vesta moves from Libra into Scorpio on the 26th, where it will stay until Oct 25. Vesta demands a sense of integrity and faithfulness from us. She requires you to go within, attune to your true inner nature, and behave accordingly. You derive strength from genuinely being just who you are, free from the entanglements that demand you be something you're not. Now that Vesta is moving into Scorpio, we need to become deeply in touch with our emotions and passions. Unfortunately, the area of our feelings and instinctive drives is often a place where people act without that sense of integrity. You do things because you "feel like it" -- or so you say. If you aren't motivated by something deep within you, how can you feel like it? Baser motives are apt to backfire now, since they don't reflect who you truly are. Scorpio also rules your sexuality and how you express yourself through your sexual behavior. Again, this behavior is often at odds with your inner nature. As hard as it may be, it's time to get these areas more in line with your core values. You need to align them with the rest of your life instead of allowing them to cause trouble and discord. Make your emotional life a source of power, not a distraction.

Jupiter moves from Leo into Virgo on the 27th, just before the new moon, for a 13 month stay until 2004-9-24. This is not the most easy-going placement for jolly Jupiter, since Virgo tends to dampen much of his fire and enthusiasm. The past year of his passage through Leo focused on the self and building up your own sense of courage and confidence. Now it is time to utilize those lessons to accomplish some task or goal, usually not of your own choosing. Virgo is more of a service oriented sign, when your energies become devoted to assisting others. The normal Jupiter expansiveness is limited by Virgo's desire to focus narrowly on one topic, his broad minded perspective grounded by the need to pay attention to the details. This is actually a good placement for quietly going about your work in a non-flashy manner, so get used to being out of the limelight and make the most of the coming year. It's excellent for any kind of mental activity, especially when attention to detail is required -- Jupiter gives you the drive to pursue such work that you might not ordinarily have. It's time to refine your technique, put your activities on a solid footing, get the kinks out of your system. I'd probably also look into doing something to improve your health or diet in coming months. If you find yourself putting on extra pounds (as Jupiter is prone to do), it's definitely a symptom to make some changes. Get used to being quiet and unassuming -- you'll be much more productive if you simply work without demanding attention. Approached rightly, Jupiter in Virgo is not all that bad...

There's a traffic jam in early Virgo today. Jupiter (just entered Virgo 8 hours ago), Sun, Moon and Venus are all crammed into the early degrees of the sign, while Mercury (about to go retrograde) is in late Virgo. The traffic jam is opposite Uranus and Mars over in Pisces and a couple of asteroids (Pallas and Vesta) join in. Oh, there's some minor activity between Chiron, Saturn and Neptune (more on this group next month), but that's pretty much it. That powerful opposition puts us under some intense stresses in our lives the next 4 weeks. We need to shift gears, temper our approach, focus our efforts more clearly. There's incredible tension between our outer approaches to life and what's going on below the surface. Jupiter and Uranus are getting ready to spring some surprises on us, so be prepared to let go of deeply held beliefs that no longer apply. We're in for one heck of a commute!

Mercury is standing still at 26Vi19 on the 28th, about to start 3 weeks of retrograde motion. It returns to normal motion on Sep 20 at 12Vi12. Mercury retrograde! How people love to assume the worst about this influence. It's actually pretty easy, if you put your mind (or what's left of it) to it. Mercury is what I call the thinking or symbol using part of the psyche. If your behavior requires language or symbols to make sense of the world, that's Mercury. When our fleet-footed messenger makes a U-turn and stumbles in the opposite direction, it feels like the thinking mind gets all fogged up. It's hard to think clearly or express yourself to others without misunderstandings arising. Messages get garbled, people miscommunicate due to unspoken assumptions that aren't shared. Sometimes it can even affect you physically, having an especially tough influence on your coordination and gracefulness. Yet for all the messed up connections, life still goes on. The lesson here is that you are much more than just your thinking mind. Further, while we use our thoughts and beliefs to navigate through life, it's important to remember that no mental image can possibly capture the full flavor of reality. In fact now, you can't possibly ignore the shortcomings of your mental maps and belief systems. Realize that the thinking mind is a useful tool for living, but it should never be allowed to be the sole reason for your actions. Thought, at it's deepest level, is essentially empty and without meaning (surprise!). There are much more soulful ways of navigating through life than the mind. Enjoy the search for this deeper level.

Pluto is standing still at 17Sa14 later on the 28th, preparing to resume normal motion. He's been in reverse gear since Mar 22 (at 19Sa57), just after the Gulf War broke out. Pluto's direct station is always a critical time in my book. The entire cycle is frequently a time when some area of your life is being pushed to a crisis point. Some part of your life or behavior is out of synch with the level you are "supposed" to be operating at now, and that out of tune area is holding you back. Pluto informs you -- quietly at first, but more persistently each passing day -- that you need to let go and move on. If you haven't been listening, by now the demand to change is deafening. Simply look about you and check out what part of your life is in shambles, where you're struggling to simply hold it together anymore. Give up the struggle -- you weren't meant to hold onto it in the first place. It often looks like external circumstances are responsible for putting you in such a bind, but if you're honest with yourself, you'll see it's just your own evolutionary path that forced the issue. The joke is you brought this upon yourself by not being who you're supposed to be. So let the pieces fall out of your hands, lighten your load and move on. Pluto makes us leaner and meaner, tempering our nature in fire. It's not pleasant, but you're better off for the experience. (Given the connection between Pluto's cycle and the Gulf War, I'd reasonably expect the situation in Iraq to be going through a major turning point now -- hope for the best!)

Jupiter is opposite Uranus on the 29th and contraparallel on the 30th. This is a relatively quick single pass aspect, so it's long term effects may be somewhat limited, but for now, it's the centerpiece of the all the late August fireworks. All the big storm patterns the last half of the month are built upon this opposition. Jupiter and Uranus are both mental-intuitive planets, though they operate on very different levels. Jupiter, for all his broad vision and philosophic insight, is actually a rather conventional thinker. After all, what better way to make contact with others than by thinking like they do. His wisdom still smacks of "herd thinking" and lacks a deep and individual stamp. Uranus is much more of a renegade, wanting to break free of any limiting factor. He strives for a truly unique and revolutionary perspective, leaving behind all shackles from the past. Uranus is more seeing than thinking, an intuitive flash that moves instantly from point A to point B without touching any points in between (which sometimes makes his insights hard to communicate). These two perspectives are at odds with each other during August and September. There's a tension between conventional wisdom and just plain "truth seeing" that is causing major mayhem throughout society. The herd is trying to assimilate the rebel, while the rebel is trying to shake up the herd. In the end, both sides are likely to be changed, though true understanding is likely to elude us. It's a good time to question your basic assumptions and expectations, what I call the "couldas and shouldas" in my therapeutic work. Much of what we do is either meaningless or counterproductive. If a flash of insight allows you to see clearly into these shortcomings, by all means make the effort to break free. This is one time when resistance is not futile. You are only free when you constantly strive to create your freedom day by day. Mental traps are many and outside pressure is powerful. Don't sacrifice your individuality...