Current Transits for August 2005

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


New Moon at 12Le48, 8-4
Juno enters Gemini, 8-12
Vesta enters Cancer, 8-13
Mercury Direct Station at 8Le45, 8-15
Jupiter Trine Neptune, 8-17
Full Moon at 26Aq50, 8-19
Jupiter Quintile Saturn, 8-21

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

August looks like a transitional month, a time when old influences are wrapping up their activity and we're waiting for the next round of influences to take their place. Many of the "big aspects" we've been tracking since last fall (including all the Grand Quintile energies from Nov 2004) are coming to an end, while the next crop of aspects doesn't kick in until September. Obviously, this is not a good recipe for starting major projects, since the energies that would give rise to such efforts are on the way out the door. Look at the next month or two as a gestation time, a time to let the new energies slowly arise from the depths on their own schedules and terms. With Mercury still in reverse motion the first half of the month, there's little mental clarity for pursuing your projects successfully anyway. Pluto is also grinding to a halt this month (it stands still at its direct station on Sep 2), so old structures in your life may be showing signs of wear and tear. Some things in life are simply past their prime and you need to let go of them. Hanging on to outdated influences only makes their eventual demise more painful. Look to cleaning up practical issues, such as work and money problems, now that Chiron has backed up into Capricorn for a few months. Passive waiting periods may seem like a waste of time, but they are often quite fruitful down the road. Give yourself some time to be quiet and receptive.

August is a slow news month -- not much happening in a traditional sense. There's the Mercury station, two "big aspects" and a pair of asteroids changing signs to discuss.

By the time of the new moon, the first storm of August is well under way. The new moon is already in low Koz Alert territory (with a strength of 504 already), only a few hours away from the strongest pattern all month. The backbone of this pattern is a grouping of about 8 planets and asteroids that puts out a very upbeat energy.

Mercury is right next to the new moon point in Leo and directly opposite Neptune. Venus, Jupiter, Pallas and Ceres also join in the festivities. Obviously, with this many bodies involved, the energies are quite complex and hard to describe fully. All those Leo planets incline us to stand up and get noticed, as though the ego decided it was time to have some fun and get his own way. If you keep your demands within reason, this is a good time to get your needs met. The coming Jupiter-Neptune trine is another big piece of this puzzle. It further adds to the positive, forward looking mood of this lunation. It's easy to see the big picture and the glorious future it points to, although the image is rather short on practical details at this point. It's curious how much mental energy is in this chart, even if the thinking mind is unable to function properly. This is a dreaming time, a time to see the vision that will eventually shape the future, though the practical work to pull it off is left for another day. Overall, this cast of characters is quite an optimistic bunch -- enjoy the light-hearted energies. We all need some carefree times now and again...

Juno moves from Taurus into Gemini on the 12th. Due to an upcoming retrograde cycle, this is an extended stay in this sign. Rather than the typical 3 months to pass through a sign, Juno takes 8 months, not passing into Cancer until 2006-3-28. Juno is the queen of relationships based on deep bonds of trust and equality. She needs to know "we're in this together" before she relaxes, because even the barest hint of feeling slighted or taken advantage of sends her into a rage. Landing in Gemini may be a boon for relationships that are in trouble. First of all, Gemini is a mental sign that minimizes the effects of the emotions. There's some emotional distance now that allows people to step back and look at problems from a fresh perspective. It also gives partners a chance to talk over these issues without getting into a big scene. Start with the little things first. Not only does that give you some practice for handling bigger issues, but it clears the landscape of a lot of minor irritants that can poison the dialogue. Sometimes settling any problem, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can be enough to convince Juno that progress is being made in good faith. Step back and take things less personally, both of you. This is not a good time to be snippish or condescending with your partner, as that only undermines the trust you're trying to build. Keep your language civil and constructive. Above all, any solutions or agreements must be perceived to be fair and even-handed. The biggest trigger to Juno's rage is that nagging feeling that she's being victimized or ripped off. Remember that this placement includes a retrograde cycle, always a clue that the lessons involved are extra critical and may require more effort than usual to assimilate. Ideas and beliefs, the playthings of Gemini's realm, are never as important as the people we live with. Don't let your words blind you to opening up to others.

Vesta shifts from Gemini into Cancer on the 13th. Like Juno, this is a 9 month stay due to a retrograde cycle coming up, with Vesta not hitting Leo until 2006-5-27. This placement is a rather odd one that requires you to balance conflicting drives. Cancer is all about the emotional bonds that tie us together, creating a sense of "family" with those people you are close to. Vesta, however, is more of a loner, a sensitive person that finds her strength in withdrawing from others. She's a typical introvert, in a sense, in that she feels drained by excessive contact with people and is most comfortable retreating to her own turf. This is a testing time for your relationships. You're likely to find that some people seem to really sap your energy and leave you feeling drained, or you may feel cheapened or disrespected by contact with them. Under normal circumstances, you may just shrug it off and not make anything of this drainage, but you're likely to be sensitized to such slights now and more apt to take notice. Vesta's response under such circumstances is to pull back from such an irritating person or even cut them off completely. For the truly sensitive Vesta souls, they may feel the need to pull back from even the healthy, supportive relationships. Fortunately, if someone really loves you, they'll be around again when you crawl out from your shell. The same can't be said for the people who drain you, however. At least this will give you a clue about who your real friends are and allow you to clean house. Just remember not to disappear completely during this time. First of all, since this is a retrograde period coming up, the lessons are deeper and need to be examined more carefully. Vesta can overdo this withdrawal behavior, especially if it becomes your habitual way of handling stressful situations. A cerrtain level of stress is useful as a prod to get out of your shell, to move out into the world and get things done. We grow through the rough and tumble of our relationships since they are the best mirror we have of the parts of yourself that are hidden from your own view. Vesta may feel more comfortable pulling away from others, but that also implies pulling away from the deeper parts of your own nature. Ultimately, that cripples your personal power instead of enhances it. Engagement with the right people, those that truly love and support you, is an important goal. After all, 9 months is an awfully long time to crawl into your shell. It would be a shame to have gone through this entire placement and not have any growth to show for it. Balance is the key. Withdraw if you must for a time, but stay involved with the world. You'll learn a lot about the power of your own emotional nature through this process.

Mercury is standing still at its direct station of 8Le45 on the 15th, about to resume normal motion in the sky. It's been in reverse gear since the retrograde station at 20Le28 on July 22. Mercury is the thinking and symbol using part of the psyche, the part of us that tries to "figure out" and control the world using words and clever stories. To a certain degree, this is an extremely useful trait, as the mere presence of computers and cell phones will attest to. But the flaw in the armor for the Mercury mind is that the world is always bigger and more complicated than our symbolic stories will ever be. Our ideas always come up short sooner or later. These "oops moments" are more likely to happen when Mercury is in reverse gear like this because the thinking mind seems to be missing a few cylinders just now. This form of incomplete understanding, riddled with blind spots, is the underlying reason for all the cautions people have about Mercury retrograde. Communications seem to get fouled up easily, ending in misunderstandings, because the Mercury mind is under the illusion other people understand his words exactly the same way he intended. Plans seem to go haywire when you execute them, because they failed to adequately expect all the unexpected consequences (that's more Uranus' job). Life just doesn't seem to make much sense. All this is a symptom that your perspective on the world (and on yourself, for that matter) is simply too small and simplistic. Once again, the world in all its peculiarness has managed to squeeze through the cracks between your mental building blocks. One way of handling this mismatch of story and reality is to come up with a cleverer story. When you're confused about something now, step back and try to intuit where your misunderstandings are coming from. Change your story around a little to include more exceptions and subtleties. Of course, damage control on your stories, no matter how useful the outcome, is still only going to get you so far. The problem is that there will always be a mismatch. Mercury is very skilled at getting people to forget that reality is not what our stories tell us. There's always an element of mystery and surprise in the world that we ignore at our own peril. The deepest lesson of Mercury retrograde is that our symbolic world is, at best, a very useful and sophisticated approximate model of reality, but that our symbolic thinking tends to divorce us from the underlying reality. At worst, words become our mental prisons. There's a lot more to life than rational thought can reveal. Anyway, the first half of August is stuck under this mental haze. Since the retrograde motion takes place entirely in Leo, "ego issues" may dominate some of the misunderstandings. Don't assume blindly that others see the world just like you. They aren't unreasonable, just different. Lighten up and enjoy the diversity. The thinking mind comes out of this fog slowly the last half of the month, though clarity is still quite some time off (early September, I'd say).

Jupiter is trine Neptune on the 17th. This is the third of 3 such contacts, with previous contacts on 2004-11-29 and 2005-3-14. This has been an aspect with a very uncertain potential. On the surface, it all looks very positive and helpful, since Jupiter and Neptune are both upbeat planets and trines are the original "good luck" aspect. But there are some serious drawbacks to this combination. For starters, the reputation of lucky trines far exceeds actual results most of the time. Trines bring two planets together so that they work together in an easy, effortless way. The situation tends to unfold of its own accord. While that may feel pleasant, it's actually a serious problem. Trines tend to lull us to sleep. Things go so smoothly, we feel no need to put in any effort to make it go even better. When circumstances unfold without your input, it's almost certain the results will fall short of what you desire. Now Jupiter in Libra is a very social planetary energy. He makes us want to move past our old boundaries, connect with people, share resources and ideas with them, and generally make our collective lives better and richer. Jupiter tends to broaden the mind, allowing you to see life from a more inclusive perspective. Neptune in Aquarius is more of a dreamer. Neptune likes to look at the world in big, broad brush strokes, seeing the deep underlying connections between things while glossing over the details and distinctions that a lesser mind finds important. So while you're taking in new ideas these days, you may not be comprehending the bigger picture. It takes work to make a new perspective your own and work is just what a trine is not apt to do. The other trouble is that Neptune is a very creative planetary energy. Whatever your most deeply held beliefs about the world, Neptune has an uncanny habit of twisting the world to match your expectations. It's like a fun-house mirror which gives you a weird image in the outer world of who you are inside. Unfortunately, what's inside most people is a confused mess. Our set of beliefs contradict themselves, they're poorly thought through, the negative parts are overlooked (Neptune has great rose-colored glasses!), the role of ego is ignored, etc. If this is the foundation for how we are shaping the world, no wonder the world is a crazy jumble! Mental clarity is in order, with some attention to details, something neither Jupiter nor Neptune are good at. Now I don't mean to bad mouth this trine completely, because there is a lot that's positive about it. But it doesn't come without focus and effort. We're nearing the end of this influence, but it's not too late to make it the best we can. Actually put your optimism to work

Compared to the new moon, the full moon chart is not much to look at. The full moon falls right in the middle of the transition period this month, as though the energies let loose at the new moon have simply run out of steam. There's not much in the way of structure or large groups of planets at work. It seems like the sky is simply taking a few days off.

There's a wide T-square between Neptune, Mars and Mercury present in this chart. This tends to dull or dissipate the way we think and act, since dreamy Neptune usually takes the sharp edge off of the faster moving planets. The thinking mind is particularly closely affected at this time, with Mercury just coming off its direct station and barely moving yet. Once more, it's important to remain flexible, since it's easy to fall into a "I'm going to do things my way!" attitude that makes it difficult to see the other person's point of view. Once you get moving in any particular direction, it's hard to change course, even if you can see you're headed down the wrong path. The Moon in Aquarius is an antidote to the self-centered view point of the new moon, as Aquarius stands as a mirror to all the Leo influences earlier in the month. Take the broader outlook for a change and put your personal interests on the back burner. It's more important to notice how well your concerns mesh with the greater good and to focus on harmonizing with the people around you. You can't be the center of attention all the time. Otherwise, get ready for the second storm coming up.

Jupiter is quintile Saturn on the 21st for the third of 3 times. The previous contacts were on 2004-11-8 and 2005-6-28. Whenever you talk about aspects between Jupiter and Saturn, it seems you wind up talking about the entire 20 year cycle of these two planets. Typically, these cycles can have dramatic effects on the world stage. The current cycle, which began on 2000-5-28 when Jupiter and Saturn were conjunct on the Israeli Sun position, has had a marked influence on affairs in the Middle East, as I've often commented on the last few years. Quintiles often indicate times or influences where old, intractible problems suddenly give way when one's perspective shifts appropriately. In effect, when looked at from the proper angle, the problem dissipates into a no-big-deal. A very unique version of this "change of perspective" phenomenon happened on the first contact of this quintile, which was the day Yassar Arafat died. His very presence had become an obstacle to peace, so with his passing new peace options suddenly appeared. Curiously, the Israeli Knesset was voting on pulling out of Gaza at this same time. Now with the final contact, we are facing the actual pull out this month. This may not be as easy as we thought it was going to be, but on the other hand, a year ago it was totally unthinkable. Such an ancient problem doesn't go away quickly, even with a quintile. Anyway, we are nearing the end of this process. It's time to consolidate the insights and gains that we've made the last 9 months and move on. The results in our individual lives and how we connect with others may not be as dramatic as the affairs of nations, but our lives can also improve with a change in perspective. Clear out as many troublesome issues as you can now. It will make the square aspect coming up this winter much easier to handle.