Current Transits for August 2006

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


Vesta enters Virgo, 8-3
Full Moon at 16Aq43, 8-9
Juno enters Virgo, 8-10
New Moon at 0Vi30, 8-23
Pallas Direct Station at 0Cp49, 8-24
Jupiter Trine Uranus, 8-29
Mars Square Pluto, 8-29
Saturn Opposite Neptune, 8-31

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

The period from August through October strikes me as a transition time when we are moving from the old group of planetary influences that we've worked with for so long now and checking in to new energies and new challenges. This is especially the case with the "big aspects" that color the long-term, overall flavor or mood of the energies: the old aspects are finishing out their run and the first of the new crop, the opposition of Saturn and Neptune, makes its first contact on the 31st. That opposition should be a powerful shift for us, given how different in temperment the two planets are. Broadly speaking, August is powerful at times, particularly the planetary storm from the 6th to the 13th, but not quite as overwhelming as July turned out to be. There are a number of important planetary groupings that dominate the scene during the month, but none of them seem to be particularly "off the dial" like the July storms tended to be. Further, the role of Pluto seems to be diminishing for now, even though he is approaching his direct station on Sep 4 (always a critical time of the year). Wrap up "old business" in coming weeks and clear your desk of obligations that have taken up your time and energy for so long. With the pair of eclipses coming up in September, we are headed off in some new directions shortly. You don't want to be left behind.

The most important news this month are a pair of "big aspects", one finishing up, the other starting a new cycle. In addition, a pair of asteroids move from Leo into Virgo and Pallas is standing still on the 24th. I also have a few words to say on the distinctly unfriendly Mars-Pluto square on the 29th.

Vesta moves from Leo into Virgo on the 3rd, where she will stay until heading into Libra on Oct 4. Vesta can be a bit of a recluse. Not that she's antisocial, by any means, but it's simply that her passion and strength comes from deep inside herself, not from her surroundings. When she feels drained and overwhelmed by the world, she withdraws into herself and her private world. Her home and personal world are very important to her, as they are the personal support that inspires and revitalizes her. Vesta tends to feel quite at home in Virgo, a sign that goes well with her inward aspirations. Curiously, this placement is often a good time to bury yourself in work that you find personally fulfilling. This is not your usual 9-to-5, bring home a paycheck kind of work, but something you pursue because it fires up your passion and enthusiasm. Others may not understand why you are putting so much time and effort into such a pursuit, but then again, Vesta's passions are deeply personal and not easily comprehended by outsiders. You put in the effort because the project fires you up and makes you feel alive inside. Pull away from the world if you need to, but put the time and energy that frees up to good use. Virgo also deals with health issues, so this is a good time to reassess things like diet and exercise. Just be clear on the goal here: you're trying to feel better for your own benefit, not live up to some external standard of health or beauty. Focus on the things that support you personally -- you'll be stronger for it in the long run.

The full moon falls a few hours past the peak of the largest Koz Alert in August, so you'd naturally expect this chart to have quite an effect over the next two weeks. The obvious focal point of the full moon chart is the tight pattern of Saturn and the Sun directly opposite the Moon, Neptune and Ceres. The planets Mars, Jupiter and Uranus play supporting roles. Needless to say, this is quite a complex configuration that is tough to untangle. Mercury, Venus and Pluto form a little group of their own off to the side.

This chart could work out for you in any number of ways, depending upon the level of awareness you're operating at. Ideally, Saturn and the Sun in Leo is a time to consolidate and refine your sense of self and bring your projects and goals to fulfillment. However, if you've been slacking off or cutting corners, Saturn is more likely to undermine your actions by exposing your weak points. Things are likely to work out better if you hold a warm, open hearted attitude towards others that keeps their interests in mind, or worse if you focus only on yourself. The more idealistic perspective is represented by the Moon-Neptune-Ceres group in Aquarius, a high-minded and inclusive influence that is emotionally supportive in an oddly detached manner (that's Aquarius for you). It practically screams that our attachments to others are important. There are emotional ups and downs to weather (with Jupiter in Scorpio), but a cheery and optimistic mood can counteract the fears and concerns that weigh you down. It's tough to get your way unless you take others into account right from the start. It's a curious set of contradictions in this chart, but then again, the outer planets often work through our contradictions. It will become clearer later -- maybe...

Juno also moves into Virgo on the 10th. She will stay here until Oct 21, when she moves into Libra for an extended stay (due to an upcoming retrograde cycle). Juno is the Queen of Loving Relationships, so this is an energy totally at odds with what we just mentioned about Vesta. Obviously, some kind of balancing act is in order here. The ideal that Juno represents are committed partnerships based on equality and shared approaches to life. Any situation that deviates from this ideal tends to bring out a very covert and vindictive side to her behavior. Emotions like jealousy, mistrust or a cold, distant withdrawal of affection are the weapons Juno uses to fight back when she feels betrayed. You might see these extreme behaviors when Juno is in, say, Scorpio, but her approach in Virgo is apt to be much different. She tries to "fix" the relation or tries to figure it out. Granted, all partnerships need some upkeep and renewal now and then, and this placement is a great time to honestly examine issues that bug the two of you and make the adjustments. However, this drive can reach compulsive levels, with hilarious results (at least if you're not on the inside). It's actually a subtle form of insult to assume this "fixer role", since it implies a superiority that flies in the face of what Juno stands for. Plus it undermines true intimacy, which is what Juno really desires in the first place. Put aside the stereotypical masks of victim and manipulator, remaining honest and open even when it hurts. The classical Greek myth of Juno is full of pain and betrayal going in both directions. She needs to learn how to stop this abusive cycle and forge a new direction. It takes quiet courage to be intimate. When you get past the ego games, Juno is a very strong woman.

The detail about the new moon chart that first catches your eye is the 5 bodies in Virgo -- one third of the planets and asteroids in a single sign. In fact, this overdose of Virgo continues through most of September as well, especially in the two eclipse charts next month. There are two more groups (of 3 bodies each) in Leo and Aquarius. This is a very lumpy chart! On the plus side, the most potent planets are Jupiter and Venus, two of the most beneficial planets around.

This new moon kicks off a rather momentous month. The "big aspects" are about to be exact, Pluto is essentially standing still the next two weeks (always a difficult time, if you're in Pluto's sites), and the two eclipses are upon us. The emphasis on Virgo is intriguing. A flashy Leo approach is inappropriate now. We're so used to thinking of Virgo as a prim and proper young girl that we forget her skill and intelligence. We're being called to function at a higher spiritual level than ever before, which requires us to work smarter, with more awareness, and to divest ourselves of habits that no longer serve our purposes. It may sound tedious to some people, but operating at this level of skill can be quite satisfying in its own way. And it certainly is much easier than working stupid. One other clue I've run into lately: the Washington, DC area is tuned to Virgo, especially the later degrees of that sign. I wouldn't be surprised if some major event rocked the capital in the next few weeks, though I haven't looked deeply enough to be more specific about it yet. The next month may be difficult, but it's not beyond our capabilities. Plus Venus and Jupiter are looking out for us -- it can't be all bad!

Pallas reaches her direction station of 0Cp49 on the 24th, about to resume normal motion. She originally went retrograde at 19Cp37 on May 7. Pallas retrograde is often a creative time when your Muse grabs you by the collar and tells you to get busy. Personally, this has been a highly fruitful time for myself the last few months. However, it comes at a price. In order to bring forth that creative vision within, you need to distance yourself from the cares and distractions of the outer world, going on retreat, as it were. This is easier said than done, as the entire retrograde cycle takes place in Capricorn, the most practical and down to earth of all the zodiac signs. We think of Pallas as a mental/intuitive body, one that gives us the vision to plan ahead and engage the future. She's got that tactician's knack for being able to size up how to get from point A to point B in the simplest way possible. She's also well known for her artist's touch. This has likely been a time to attend to more practical concerns than artistic ones, given the Capricorn placement. Whatever it is you've been working on lately, hopefully your plans are coming to fruition and are ready to present to the world -- the direct station is a "coming out party" of sorts. I am intrigued by the position of this station, namely zero degrees Capricorn, the Winter Solstice position. This is a position of the zodiac that was considered very powerful in ancient times. The passage of the Sun over this degree was one of the most sacred times of the entire year. Perhaps our gifts, whatever they may be, will have a greater impact than we can imagine.

Jupiter is trine Uranus for the third of 3 contacts on the 29th. The previous contacts of this aspect were on 2005-11-27 and 2006-5-4. This influence, which has been going on for 9 months now, is a curious mixture of mental planets in emotional zodiac signs. Of the two, Jupiter in Scorpio is the more conventional planet. He see the world through the shared common wisdom of the everyday world, while Scorpio tends to frame every issue in terms of its personal impact on the individual. He's reaching out for emotional fulfillment, even though the outer world is not always supportive of the individual. Uranus in Pisces takes a totally different perspective. He is a rebel and an anarchist, leaving behind all traditional answers in favor of the new and unusual. Pisces, the most selfless of all the signs, is also immune to the ego traps commonly found with Scorpio, though this "lack of self" can be taken to extremes. Fortunately, trines generally allow two planets to work together as best they can, so I don't expect any big conflicts here. If anything, Uranus will likely draw Jupiter up to a higher plane, moving the status quo we live with to a more inclusive and expansive level. Just make certain not to squander this opportunity. The downside of a trine is a lack of motivation to move forward. With things going so smoothly, there's little reason to put in the effort to make them even better. Consequently, the results of a trine can be less than is possible, producing a weak foundation for future growth. We'll see these weaknesses emerge during the coming Jupiter-Uranus square in 2007. Anyway, it's time to reap the benefits of this trine as it starts to pass away and shift our attention to newer challenges.

Mars is square Pluto on the 29th. I don't normally spend much time on aspects that aren't between two outer planets, since the results of such aspects are generally short lived and of lesser lasting importance. I make an exception for the rougher aspects of Mars and Pluto, because of the fireworks they kick off. Mars is will power, the ability of the psyche to kick butt in the physical world. His energies are egocentric, rough and physical, sometimes even violent, such as his association with the military. Pluto, among other things, is the deeper stirrings of the unconscious to produce profound change and break down structures that have outlived their usefulness. And squares, of course, are among the most difficult and conficted of all the aspects. If you are very good, it's possible to harness this connection for constructive purposes, as long as you keep your ego out of the picture, but the chances of everything going smoothly are pretty slim. Keep in mind that everyone is in this "me first!" attitude now, for reasons they may not fully understand, so the likelihood of a clash of wills is quite high these days. It's easy to attract very negative energies from others now, in rare cases even physical violence. This aspect has a reputation (perhaps overblown) as a "stay out of dark alleys" influence. Park your ego at the door and give people a wide berth, channeling your efforts into projects that aren't so self-centered. Fighting is a poor usage of this powerful energy.

Saturn is opposite Neptune on the 31st for the first of 3 contacts. The next contacts are on 2007-2-28 and 2007-6-25. This aspect is the new kid on the block and I've been mulling it over for several days now. For starters, these slow moving giants create a long term cycle of about 37 years duration. The current cycle started in 1989. As I reviewed the charts for the 3 Saturn-Neptune conjunctions of that year, my mind was flooded with memories of critical events. The list includes the Exxon Valdez oil spill and several lesser spills, political reforms in the old Soviet Union, the first flyby of Neptune, the disintegration of the Soviet Bloc in Eastern Europe, culminating in the fall of the Berlin Wall. Obviously, this cycle has some "zing!" to it! Since the opposition is the time when the impulses started at the beginning of the cycle reach their fullest expression, I presume the next 9 months will reveal many of the consequences, both good and bad, of the many important changes our world has experienced in recent decades. It's a time to look at our report card and see how well we're managing this new world. Further, Saturn and Neptune are extremely different energies, about as far apart as you can get. And oppositions describe a tug-o-war between them, a difficult dynamic tension between forces that drag us in opposing directions. Saturn is traditional reality, the underlying patterns and mechanisms that create and perpetuate our world at a fundamental level. He's the status quo personified. Neptune is the otherworldly dreamer and mystic, the detached fellow that's more interested in the cosmic myths behind this world than the world itself. He's the dream behind the world we see with our senses. In one sense, this opposition is a contest between dreams and ideals vs. practical, hardcore reality. Curiously enough, except when the cultural atmosphere is totally repressive, it's often the Dreamer that wins out in this contest. That's because (in part) Neptune is the life of the psyche, especially the unconscious parts of our nature, while Saturn operates on a more superficial level. It's hard to say what can come out of this opposition, but it's probably worthwhile to at least ask some probing questions. Starting with, are you happy with the world that we (collectively) are creating for ourselves? How would you change things for the better? What practical changes would you bring about to make life more in tune with your deeper desires and beliefs? What is it that you truly believe in the first place? Neptune has a way of bringing about in the outer world what you most hold onto in the inner world, which isn't always a good thing. All the neurotic and insane situations you see on the nightly news, as well as in your own life, are created by people unconsciously motivated by crazy ideas. This is a time to question your beliefs, holding them up to scrutiny and seeing what the results of our beliefs are. Even our highest ideals can have destructive consequences, especially if they are out of step with the times we live in. This curious interplay of inner and outer worlds is all grist for the spiritual mill. Given the low level most of the world's population is currently operating at, this could be a very messy, difficult time. It's a wake up call for us to truly embrace a better world. Let's see what we create...