Low-Down Archives July-August 2009

July-August 2009

For the Solar Eclipse and New Moon in Cancer:
July 21 to August 5, 2009

And for Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius:
August 5 to 20, 2009

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Jul.21 – SOLAR ECLIPSE and NEW MOON in CANCER (29:26 of Cancer)

SOLAR ECLIPSE and NEW MOON in CANCER

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

July 21, 10:35 PM EDT

London, UK:

July 22, 3:35 AM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Juny 22, 12:35 PM AEDT

"What's a Solar Eclipse?"

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience CANCER energy in your life.

The Solar Eclipse will be visible across India, China and the South Pacific. See map above for more information. Remember: NEVER look directly at a Solar Eclipse without proper eye protection, or you can permanently damage your eyes.

This Solar Eclipse is all about transition and transformation. It is the second New Moon in a row that lands in Cancer. The first Cancer New Moon was on June 22 and at 1°. This New Moon is also a Solar Eclipse and takes place at 29°.

As an eclipse, it evokes a transformative process. And since the eclipse takes place in the last degree of a sign, with the lunar node being at the first degree of the next sign, it takes is through a transition from one state to another. On top of this, the eclipse and the lunar nodes straddle the axis that divides the Cancer/Capricorn and Leo/Aquarius polarities. This is considered an extremely pivotal, and therefore powerful, axis in the zodiac.

In Cancer lies our human need for family and belonging. It is where you receive and establish your foundation in life – the ground on which you build your life. For some that ground is made of firm bedrock. For others it is more like swampland or the slippery dunes of the desert. It represents the nest from which you take flight. Whatever you receive there tends to remain with you in one way or another – as support and sustenance that carries you on your journey, or as baggage containing the raw material that fuels your personal growth, or both.

In Leo you become a separate entity from your roots. It is where you find ways to express yourself as an individual. Leo encourages your unique self-expression and the playful fun that celebrates and validates who you are. It is also where you create something that can be born only from that unique selfhood. This can be literally in the form of children, or figuratively in the form of creative works.

The transition that takes place as we move from one into the other is crucial to your personal growth. Ideally we are fed in Cancer with the emotional, material, physical, spiritual, psychological and mental nutrients that we need to grow. In Leo this gives us the strength of spirit and healthy ego structure to be who we are and to do something with that self. The transition from one to the other involves the severance of the umbilical cord that sustains us in our formative years but must be let go if we are to become self-actualized individuals.

Unfortunately most of us become stuck to some degree in one sign or the other, or we might focus on one at the exclusion of the other. When we get stuck in Cancer, we remain overly dependent on others to provide for our needs. We lack enough strength of self to venture out of the nest into the world of self-sufficiency. When we get stuck in Leo, we venture out into the world but become overly dependent on others to provide ongoing applause. We lack enough strength of spirit to shine independent of the external reflection that reminds us that we do, in fact, exist and have value. Either way, the umbilical cord remains uncut to some extent.

However, this is meant to be an ongoing process of letting go in stages, as we cultivate and strengthen ourselves enough to survive and thrive with increasing autonomy. This solar eclipse gives us a chance to take that growth process to the next level. The final degree of a sign is the jumping off point where we take everything we have gathered, learned and cultivated in that sign and take the leap to the next sign, the next level – but we're not on the other side just yet. We're still in mid-leap. We still have one foot in Cancer, pushing off with our toes, while the other foot is poised and ready to step down into Leo – but we're not there yet.

This eclipse takes place at the South Lunar Node. ("What's a Lunar Node?") The South Node tends to have a bad reputation for causing trouble and difficult experiences. But the South Node is where we let go; where we take what we've been focusing on in the foreground and let it become assimilated into the background. Letting go can be a difficult experience for a lot of people because it involves loss of what is familiar. Even when we let go of something that has been painful, we experience loss. Think of a bad relationship – even though you might smile and wave as they walk out the door, part of you probably feels sad from the loss of what you thought was possible, the loss of the dream of what you hoped would happen, or the loss of your self-image as being intimately connected to someone else. Loss can be hard, even when it's a welcome change.

The Solar Eclipse in Cancer at the South Node therefore urges you to let go of another layer of that umbilical cord. What is it that keeps you tied to the past? In what way does your true self remain hidden? What holds you back from fulfilling your individual potential? How are you stuck in an unhealthy reliance on others to provide what you are now ready to give yourself?

Eclipses have an "extended shelf life." That is, their influence continues over time and can become reactivated, especially when aspected by transiting planets. Below is a table of when the Sun, Mars and Saturn will make major aspects to this eclipse and will therefore trigger its unfolding energy:

SUN MARS SATURN
CNJ  22-Jul-2009
OPP  19-Jan-2010
CNJ  22-Jul-2010
OPP  19-Jan-2011
CNJ  22-Jul-2011
OPP  20-Jan-2012
CNJ  21-Jul-2012
CNJ  15-Oct-2009
OPP  15-Jan-2011
CNJ  18-Sep-2011
OPP  25-Dec-2012
SQR  29-Jan-2012
SQR  16-Feb-2012
SQR  1-Oct-2012

 

One of the more interesting transits is that Saturn will square this Solar Eclipse in 2012. It suggests that we will be challenged at that time to put this year's transitions into effect, and that the need to do this will likely arise out of necessity rather than inspiration. That makes the current eclipse even more important, particularly in terms of how responsible, grounded and focused we are in making our changes this year.

What is reflected about this in the Solar Eclipse chart is Venus in Gemini square Saturn in Virgo (both at 18 degrees). For one thing, this aspect suggests that it is wise to be practical and focused on the long-term when drawing on resources to make this transition. For example, it might be wise to map out a budget for yourself. Or, learn to do things for yourself more instead of hiring someone else to do them for you—but be sensible about any limitations in your expertise and don't try anything you're not trained or qualified for. Similarly, relationships and social connections will probably work best if you proceed slowly and steadily, one realistic step at a time, instead of relying primarily on intuition or destiny to guide you.

A personal astrology reading can be an excellent resource to get you focused clearly on the path ahead, as well as mindful of the path you're leaving behind. In keeping with the Venus-Saturn need for budgets, I'm offering a special menu of prices that are more affordable. Find out more about a personal reading, or contact me.   

Jul.22 – Jupiter conjunct Chiron (24:54 of Aquarius) (Read article about the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction.)

Magnanimous, merciful Jupiter meets Chiron, the "wounded healer." At their best, their combined energies can bring healing and balance through compassion, justice and greater understanding. On the other hand, Chiron tends to introduce an element of struggle, so this conjunction might not be entirely straightforward. Chiron is not a planet that tends to bring "happily ever after" endings, although Jupiter certainly aspires to them. Conflicts or struggles can't always be resolved completely, but you are likely to gain some relief and clarification.   

The more difficult side of Jupiter-Chiron could involve becoming more aware of how you struggle with the less attractive side of Jupiter. That could include judgments, prejudice, blame, arrogance, blind faith or even believing so strongly in your own viewpoint that you can't or won't co-exist gracefully with the opinions of others. With Chiron involved, you might discover some of these qualities in your mental blind spot. It can help to remind yourself of the vast multiplicity and rich diversity of perspectives about life held by the billions of people on our planet, and consider the possibility that disagreement is a natural phenomenon rather than a sign of failure. Our survival – collectively and individually – depends on our ability to get past the limiting belief that there is only one right answer to the great questions of life. We need to allow Jupiter's expansive qualities, as reflected in human nature, to be free to grow and fulfill our greater potential. Chiron's role is to remind us that if we fall short of our most idealized visions, it need not indicate failure on our part, since it is not always possible to control everything that happens to us and around us.   

This is the second of 3 passes of this transit: May.23, Jul.22 and Dec.07. The conjunction has been in orb starting around mid-March. Think back over the last 5 months or so, and see if you recognize any of these themes in your life. You are on a journey to explore, develop, heal and accept the truth about these themes that lies beyond mere facts.   

Jul.22 – Sun enters Leo (until Aug.22) (Jul.23 in AU)

Happy Solar Return to all Leos! Today the Sun moves into its own sign, so its radiant energy is extra bright during this time. Leo's focus is on identity, individuality, self-esteem, creativity, self-expression and fun. You can benefit by rejuvenating, revitalising and rekindling the fiery spirit of who you are. Celebrate your existence! Do something that reminds you about who you are. Recharge your batteries and do things that help you return to the centre of the orbiting circumstances in your life – not spinning around at the edges where you feel at the mercy of everything around you. What are you doing (or what do you want to do) in your life that express the passions that move you? What is the focus of your sense of purpose in life, and what is your next step in moving toward that? If you've been feeling like you're stuck or have lost your sense of purpose, do something that uplifts you. If you could do anything with your life that you wanted to, what would it be? And what one thing (even just a small thing) can you do to take a step toward that goal? Rejuvenate your sense of self and do things that help you to just BE who you are. Hang out with children and watch how they play and are spontaneously free. Find ways to connect to your joyful Inner Child. Celebrate your existence!   

Jul.22 – Sun conjunct South Lunar Node (00:12 of Leo) (Jul.23 in AU)

This transit involves a creative release or a letting-go of a piece of your self-image that you don't need anymore. However, this letting go can often be difficult, especially if what you have invested a lot of your sense of self in whatever you're letting go. It might feel like circumstances are wrenching it away, or you could feel quite relieved to let go of this old baggage. Letting go can free up a lot of creative energy, life force and joie de vivre, which can then be rechanneled into other forms of self-expression. Follow your heart! It is time to begin letting go of something in yourself that no longer serves you well. This could be a negative belief about yourself, or perhaps dropping an inhibition that has eroded your self-confidence. This transit only happens close to the eclipses, so its energy is likely to come out around the timing of those events more noticeably. In this case, it could manifest most powerfully around the lunar eclipses of Jul.07 and Aug.05, as well as the Solar Eclipse of Jul.21.   

Jul.27 – Venus trine Jupiter (24:23 of Gemini/Aquarius)

Your luck and opportunity to attract money, love, resources and self-esteem are high right now. The flow of attraction (whether that is magnetizing people, things or opportunities) is riding a strong current right now. You could find it easier than usual to get the resources and abundance for whatever you need right now. On the other hand, "your eyes may be bigger than your stomach" (as mother used to say), meaning your desire may magnify your sense of need beyond what is wise. You may be tempted to spend, flirt or bluff your way through situations, preferring to ignore or avoid hardship, boundaries or drudgery. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but be careful you don't get your hopes up so high that you set yourself up for disappointment or make promises you can't keep. It's probably wise to balance this easy flowing energy with some discretion and good judgement.   

Jul.27 – Venus trine Chiron (24:41 of Gemini/Aquarius)

Healing and rebalancing are possible now, especially in the areas of relationships, finance, resources and values. Any problems that have persisted in these areas lately could benefit from an influx of helpful and healing resources now. Relationships and interactions of all kinds can benefit now, since it can be easier to see the beauty and value in others whom you might usually dislike or feel ill at ease with (or they with you). Negotiations and strategic efforts to resolve conflicts may go smoothly now, especially when you balance the results in everyone's interests. You may also be able to attract what you need to heal your wounds (physical, psychological, spiritual, etc.). Like it says in the "Serenity Prayer," you may now find it a bit easier to accept that which you cannot change, while finding you make progress with the things you can.   

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Jul.28 – Venus trine Neptune (25:38 of Gemini/Aquarius)

This can be a time of romance, creativity, and a sense of oneness with the natural beauty of all that exists in the world. On a social or intimate level, things may run smoothly – even a bit magically! So be sure you are clear about what you really want. In terms of finances and material worth, this can be a time of blessings and abundance that could seem to appear out of nowhere. But be careful – it can also be a time of overspending and wondering where the money went! Your natural beauty and warmth shines through now, so it is a good time to peek out from behind any faηade of glamour or illusion you might be cloaked in. You are likely to see the very best in others (and they in you), so that negotiation, interaction and attraction can seem to flow effortlessly. This magical attraction energy could also open you up to seeing wonderful qualities in others that may or may not actually be there, so do a reality check with a trusted friend before you make any important choices.   

Jul.28 – Venus square Uranus (26:19 of Gemini/Pisces)

Under this transit, you may be tempted by impulse spending, or you might be somewhat erratic in your use of resources. This can result in unpredictable or unstable finances, so double check your bank accounts and credit cards before you draw on them. It is also a time when the way you relate to others (or they to you) could be somewhat inconsistent, fickle or impulsive. If your relationships or financial situation have been struggling with difficulties for a while, this transit could bring a lingering problem to the surface and require attention. On one hand, this could be a welcome breath of fresh air that cuts through the complexity of your problems and puts the cards on the table (despite the stress and conflict that likely triggered it). Or, you might feel resistance to making these changes and instead experience this as a time of unwelcome instability, upset and adjustment. However, this may be a good way to break free of excessive restraint, control or structure, which allows new possibilities to emerge that couldn't do so otherwise.   

Jul.30 – Mercury opposite Jupiter (24:00 of Leo/Aquarius)

Your thoughts and words can become amplified under this transit, which could bring a sense of adventure, a surge of ideas, and/or imbalance due to exaggeration. You may find it's hard to stop talking (or writing), your head is filled with so many possibilities. However, your judgment about the validity of your ideas may be a bit off, or you might feel the urge to overstate your position to keep from being misunderstood. Blame and judgment could creep into your perceptions of others or the other way around. This might spring from a need to find a greater meaning or truth in the facts, having difficulty bridging the gap between the raw information and the big picture. The trick is to keep a balance between simplicity and elaborate complexity. The challenge is to find ways to express, think about and understand the vast range of possibilities and meaning within the perceptions of everyday life. Not all of it will survive the translation, but enormous spiritual creativity can be generated in the trying.   

Jul.30 – Mercury opposite Chiron (24:31 of Leo/Aquarius) (Jul.31 in AU)

You could experience extra sensitivity, compassion or sympathy toward the problems and suffering of others under this transit. One possibility is that you encounter more people than usual who are struggling with problems that are brought to your attention. Another possibility is that you might be on the receiving end of the results of their suffering – for example, if someone takes out their frustration or discouragement on you. Yet another option is that you may encounter others who are sensitive to and able to offer help for your own ongoing problems and struggles. You may be in a special position to have insight into the problems of others, or they into yours. Exchange of information, experiences, ideas and theories could be useful. You might also experience a difficult interaction with someone that raises an old issue about style of communication (for example, words might be spoken with good intentions that instead cause hurt). This is a good time to listen and observe, and you might catch a glimpse of some ironic or paradoxical truth.   

Jul.31 – Mercury opposite Neptune (25:32 of Leo/Aquarius)

Inspired thinking, mental fantasy, imaginative ideas and lucid dreams are likely during this transit. This can result in enormous creativity that sees inspiration and magical ideas in the world around you (be sure to write them down to develop later). Your communication may be unusually intuitive and inspiring now. However, it can also be a time when your perceptions about reality are a bit off and coloured by wishful thinking and irrational conclusions. Doing a reality check with a trusted friend or advisor is a good idea, especially if you are trying to make important decisions right now. But be sure to explore any non-rational or irrational thinking, since the veil between the conscious and unconscious mind is thin now and you can learn much by observing your thoughts and perceptions.   

Jul.31 – Venus enters Cancer (until Aug.26) (Aug.01 in UK, AU)

Your focus in relationships may shift for a while to family, loved ones and people in your support system. You may also find that your interactions with others takes on a quality that echoes the past, perhaps childhood, and you want to reach out to connect with others more than usual – or to avoid it if those echoes are not pleasant ones. You could be especially sensitive to getting your emotional needs met, or how others want their needs to be met. Interactions with others may bring up a deep need to belong and to connect and bond with others on a personal level. The need to feel secure and safe could come up in a variety of forms now – either directly as a feeling of vulnerability, or indirectly disguised as defensiveness or manipulation. This could also a time when you want to be somewhat protective and cautious in your handling of money, possessions and other resources, striving to conserve and cultivate these areas in order to nurture them for future growth.   

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Aug.01 – Venus opposite Pluto (01:03 of Cancer/Capricorn) (Aug.02 in UK, AU)

Under this transit you could experience great intensity and challenge in your relationships or financial matters. It is a time to delve into the depths of your personal issues that associated with relationships, finances, resources and values. That means being willing to examine the under-the-surface dynamics and hidden patterns that affect these areas of your life. These emerging patterns could indicate a need to come to terms with your "Shadow" – this could include unconscious hidden agendas, secret desires, obsessions or power games. You have an opportunity now to learn more about how you project this "Shadow" onto others through your interactions, expectations, hopes and fears. At its best, this can be a time to transform fear into fortitude and powerlessness into endurance. By being willing to negotiate and work with your fears, feelings of intimidation or efforts to gain empowerment through self-honesty, you have the potential to create a win-win situation.   

Aug.02 – Mercury enters Virgo (until Aug.25) (Aug.25 in UK, AU)

Mercury moves into its own sign of Virgo, where it brings an awareness of health, healing, work and service. This is a good time to be analytical, methodical and focused on improvement. But be careful not to get so lost in details or perfectionism that you can't see the forest for the trees. This energy is well spent by finding ways to make your work and the pursuit of your goals more efficient and effective. Try organising your activities better and prioritizing them according to what works well and what needs improvement and how. This is especially true for any health issues that keep getting pushed to the back burner. Whatever your plans, this transit can help you organise an effective strategy to move you forward.   

Aug.03 – Mercury trine Pluto (01:01 of Virgo/Capricorn) (Aug.04 in AU)

It is possible to dive deep below the surface now, in your perception of situations, other people and yourself. If you have been working on trying to understand the deeper motivations and dynamics of what is happening in your life, there could be a breakthrough now. The light may finally go on in the darker corners that have eluded you, and your penetrating insight. You could find a way to articulate these perceptions and speak your mind in a way that is unusually powerful or intense (so be careful you don't inadvertently blow your audience out of the water). This transit can bring an opportunity to shed and leave behind old worn out perceptions or ineffective forms of communication. Try writing down your thoughts and ideas to capture the energy of this transit. This is the only exact pass for this transit, since Pluto was out of range when Mercury came through this area two months ago.   

Sabian Symbol for Aquarius 14: A train entering a tunnel

Sabian Symbol for the
Lunar Eclipse ~ Full Moon in Aquarius

Aquarius 14

A train entering a tunnel.

There's no shortage of clichι metaphors with this Sabian Symbol! ("What's a Sabian Symbol?") It foretells of a journey that is potentially risky, yet promises a reward of accelerated progress if successful.

The image of entering into the dark tunnel brings to mind the "dark night of the soul" in which one must endure through a test of faith and courage. One must be able to sustain a vision of the "light at the end of the tunnel" in order to make it to your goal. Your "train of thought" needs to keep moving forward and "stay on track." (We'll leave the, um, sexual connotations to Freud.)

It's important not to get stuck in the middle or you could lose faith in the journey. In that case, you might feel like the only light at the end is just another oncoming train.

If you don't get stuck in the middle, your reward is that you will have "fast-tracked" your way to a new perspective; a new vantage point. The trick is to keep moving and watch for that light at the end of the tunnel.

Dane Rudhyar also notes that it's important "to organize a schedule of necessary activities if the work is to be done... each requiring a specialized type of skill and strength." (An Astrological Mandala)

Blaine Bovee warns that you might go through a period of "tunnel vision" on your way to the other side. (The Sabian Symbols: The Original Symbols Fully Revealed)

I would add, though, that there's a fine line between being tenaciously focused on your destination versus having "tunnel vision" to the point where you believe there is nothing else beyond your own priorities.

 

Find out more about the Sabian Symbols in these recommended books:

The Sabian Symbols in Astrology,
by Marc Edmund Jones

An Astrological Mandala,
by Dane Rudhyar

The Sabian Symbols: The Original Symbols Fully Revealed,
by Blain Bovee

Aug.05 – LUNAR ECLIPSE ~ FULL MOON in AQUARIUS (13:43)

LUNAR ECLIPSE
FULL MOON in AQUARIUS

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Aug.05, 8:55 PM EDT

London, UK:

Aug.06, 1:55 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Aug.06, 10:55 AM AEST

"What's a Lunar Eclipse?"

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience AQUARIUS energy in your life.

This Full Moon in Aquarius is also a penumbral Lunar Eclipse (PDF), meaning only part of the Moon moves through the Earth's shadow. We had another penumbral Lunar Eclipse on July 7 in which the Moon dipped only a sliver of itself into the shadow and the usual dimming of the Moon's light probably wasn't even perceptible. This time, almost half of the Moon will move through the shadow, and if you're in South America, Africa or Europe you might see the southern edge dim very slightly.

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This is one busy month!! The solar system seems to be playing a game of Cat's Cradle, with all the different aspect patterns that are being spun like string art throughout August. From the Aug.07-28 the planets are lining up in 5 major aspect patterns.

The fact that we also have the second of two consecutive Lunar Eclipses could easily get lost in the tangles. This is a relatively rare occurrence. We typically get a pair of eclipses (one solar, one lunar) twice every year, about 6 months apart. But every 2 to 7 years one of those pairs is actually triplets. (And in 1951, both sets of eclipses consisted of 3 eclipses each – a very rare occurrence!)

What does this mean astrologically? I haven't found a definitive interpretation, but it certainly extends the intensity that is typical around the eclipses! One intriguing idea was put forth recently by Georgia Stathis, in a webinar on eclipses through Kepler College, that the final eclipse "cleans up the issues of the previous eclipses," sometimes with rather dramatic results.

The last Full Moon on Jul.07 was also a Lunar Eclipse. Both are very minor eclipses in the sense that only part of the Moon passes through the Earth's shadow, but in astrological terms they are still likely to have a stronger and more transformative effect than your garden variety Full Moon.

This particular Lunar Eclipse is a Full Moon in Aquarius, and forms a Stellium (several planets in the same sign) in Aquarius. This sign brings forward a focus on technology, mass media, visions of the future, humanitarian idealism and experience with groups of all kinds. It can also bring out feelings of being the "odd man out" where you feel like you just don't fit in with the mainstream of what is going on around you. A more positive version of this is that you might also have the urge to experiment and try things that are normally out of character for you. The trick is to venture out of your comfort zone without becoming reckless or going so far to the extreme that you have a mess to clean up afterwards.

Depending on the aspect orbs you use, the Moon is a bit far away from the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction to completely merge with the conjunction energy, but the fact that it creates a Stellium in Aquarius probably expands the connection between them. Whereas a Full Moon tends to bring out our emotions, with so much Airy Aquarius lurking about, we're more likely to channel that through the intellect, analysis and objective idealism. This could greatly amplify your urge to liberate yourself from whatever you feel is cramping your style (whether it truly is, or whether you're just feeling a bit restless).

Quadriform Kite aspect pattern at the Lunar Eclipse

Uranus and Pluto form a Quadriform Kite aspect pattern with the Sun and Moon. When combined with the Aquarian quest to break free of outworn areas of your life, it could create a bit of a fanatical, obsessive, extreme or larger-than-life edge. At worst, this might make it a bit hard to moderate or balance any feelings, impulses or behaviour that are out of whack. On the other hand, it could also inspire you to lift your motivation and aspiration out of the ordinary and into a visionary, passionate realm.

The Sun, strongly placed in its own sign of Leo, is a "singleton" (only point) in Fire signs. Your personal sense of purpose and individuality want to be your primary sources of energy, enthusiasm and drive, but it might be a challenge to make the energy flow effectively. There is lots of inspiration, imagination and even revelation to be found by focusing your mind with clear, objective thinking. This might seem a bit dry, intellectual or detached to the part of you that prefers to be swept away by a sense of personal conviction or creative self-expression, but those qualities will probably emerge more effectively when they're coaxed by a more cerebral and rational focus.

The plethora of aspect patterns this month, combined with the transformative energy of the Lunar Eclipse, suggests that a lot of integration is taking place. Throughout this year, the distribution of the planets has formed mostly minor or subtle aspect patterns, if at all. We have been gradually gathering resources, skills, insights and awareness of possibilities. This month, a lot of connections will start to come together, creating a network of opportunities, action and progress. Expect a busy month! Details and dates of these aspect patterns are given below.

With so much going on, it can be easy to become overwhelmed, confused or stretched a bit thin in too many directions. A personal reading can help you get a clear sense of the big picture and how best to fit the pieces together. In my menu of prices, I'm offering readings to fit just about any budget.

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Aug.07 – Mercury sextile Venus (08:12 of Virgo/Cancer) (Aug.08 in UK, AU)

There is a potential to benefit from social connections, diplomatic communication and receptive awareness during this transit, although a certain amount of effort is needed to make this happen. It can be a good time for negotiating contracts and other agreements, especially if you consciously focus your intent on achieving balance with your counterpart, partner or opponent that results in a win-win situation for all concerned. There is also potential to appreciate and express beauty, pleasure and sensuality. If there's someone in your life that you want to get closer to, try speaking gently and listening receptively, which can be the key that opens the door to harmonious interaction. Creative ideas can also find expression now if you apply your conscious awareness to bring them into focus. The thing to watch for is a tendency to use manipulation to achieve an advantage, which might be done by you or to you. Keep communication straightforward and clear, and find diplomatic ways to deal with manipulation if you sense it happening.  

Aug.07-27 – Wedge aspect pattern  ("What's a Wedge?")

Wedge aspect figure

The Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction in Aquarius is opposing (180°) the Sun in Leo, creating a polarization between your expression of individuality and your aspirations to stretch yourself beyond mere individuality. You can be an individual, or... you can be connected to a great collective, to the Universe itself—but only if you're prepared to accept that this doesn't excuse you from the classroom of physical existence and all the obstacles and frustrations that come with it.

Mars in Gemini forms the Wedge figure by trining (120°) the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron and sextiling (60°) the Sun. This means your actions and intentions can bring this tension into harmonious balance, once you have begun to resolve the dilemma of the Sun/Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron opposition. If you can start to find that balance point yourself between these extremes, it should become relatively straightforward to know what you want to do with it. Be careful about jumping prematurely or erratically into action, or running around in circles due to indecision. Pick a destination and go with it.

This Wedge aspect figures becomes a Mystic Rectangle when the Sun joins in starting on Aug.17.  

Aug.08-29 – T-Square aspect pattern  ("What's a T-Square?")

T-square aspect figure

Saturn and Uranus are once again coming back into orb for the opposition aspect (180°) that is taking place in 2008-2010. From now until the end of October, when Saturn goes into Libra, we will again see aspect patterns forming around the Saturn-Uranus opposition. Mars in Gemini creates the T-square with a square aspect (90°) to both planets. This is likely to be a very challenging energy. Mars square Saturn can be frustrating and infuriating at the best of times, often likened to "driving with the brakes on." It can, however, harness tremendous drive and motivation that is used for a concrete goal or manifestation.

Mars square Uranus, on the other hand, can create an erratic, impulsive energy that can bolt in reaction to anything one is distracted by (good or bad). Yet, it can also provide the courage, inspiration and daring needed to break free of inhibitions that no longer serve a useful purpose in your life.

The biggest problem is when you get both energies at once, since it's easy to feel like you're stuck in a vicious circle of "catch-22" – damned if you do, damned if you don't. It can be difficult to know how to choose between options – and the fact that Mars is in Gemini doesn't help! It could easily feel like you're trying to steer a carriage drawn by two horses that want to pull in opposite directions, and it will probably take a combination of strength, alertness and strategy to know how to manoeuvre them so that the net result is to move ahead without getting stuck.

What further complicates this is that from Aug.12-25 Mercury will be conjunct Saturn, bringing the Saturnian agenda into closer proximity. If you're the kind of person who prefers structure, predictability and order, this will likely be a welcome alignment, although it will be easy to "demonize" that wickedly unpredictable Uranus and impatient Mars. If you prefer to walk "the road less travelled" and feel stifled by too much order, you might be a bit prone to depression, pessimism or anger that you feel like you're constantly fighting an uphill battle.

However, there's great energy in anger when used constructively. It can light a fire of motivation under your backside and help you get past the frustrations. It could be helpful to channel your passions into a creative project, or to go on a blitz of digging through a mountain of information to get to the other side.

We have almost the whole month of August to work with this T-square energy. And on Aug.20, Mars catches up to oppose Pluto in a Grand Cross. And Mercury continues to play a key role with Saturn. (More on that in the next update!)   

The Future Minders

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Aug.10 – Mars square Saturn (20:26 of Gemini/Virgo) (Aug.11 in UK, AU)

The impulsive forward action of Mars meets the serious structure of Saturn. The resulting friction can often generate considerable heat in the form of frustration, argument, conflict and stress – but also productivity and results for hard work. Your efforts may seem thwarted and your actions blocked at every turn. Your sensitivity to problems with authority figures can be especially high, as well as your sensitivity to others not cooperating with your own role as an authority figure. The youthful, free spirit in you is somehow required to deal with the serious, responsible, cautious side of you, and a power struggle between the two energies can easily result. If one side wins out over the other, either depression and guilt or rebellion and obsession may result. However, you are not without power or ability! This friction can also be put to use in very productive ways. Your energy, desire and goals can be made manifest and concrete – even if possibly forced by circumstance. Obstacles can strengthen us, if we work with them instead of just fighting against them. To minimise interpersonal problems, remember that assertiveness is important, but aggression or rigidity will usually only get the other person's back up. You may find yourself in a situation where you must defend or assert your personal boundaries. Or, you might find it difficult to comply with someone else's boundaries. If the heat from this transit starts to overwhelm you, take some time out, find a safe (perhaps creative?) outlet to vent your feelings, and then find a new way to approach the problem.   

Aug.13 – Mars trine Jupiter (22:12 of Gemini/Aquarius) (Aug.14 in AU)

Energy, assertiveness, aggression and sexuality are amplified during this time. Physical, mental and emotional energy can run high. Your motivation can take on an air of confidence and purpose. If you normally shrink back from asserting yourself, this can be a time when it's a bit easier to find the courage to take a stand. It can also make you more sensitive to this amplified energy in others around you. If you are distressed by Mars energy in general (afraid of anger, intimidated by aggression, cautious about sexuality, etc.), this transit might bring a bit more of it than you can comfortably handle. However, it can also give you an opportunity to experience and make friends with this energy. If you typically enjoy high energy, this can be a time when you can make progress with plans and projects, and have flirtatious or impish fun along the way.   

Aug.14 – Sun opposite Jupiter (22:04 of Leo/Aquarius) (Aug.15 in AU)

Your confidence and ambitions may become amplified, possibly to the point of becoming a problem under this transit. It may be difficult to judge how much is too much versus just enough, and it could just be easier want more and more..."just in case." You may feel the urge to travel or do something that could expand your horizons (literally or figuratively). However, satisfaction may seem just out of reach under this transit, so there is a risk of pushing too hard and lacking perspective or good judgment. You could find that tolerance, compassion and understanding are hard to find, either in you toward others or in others toward you (or both). You are seeing things through a mental magnifying lens, which may be distorting your perceptions or reactions. On the other hand, this can be a good time to take an honest look at how closely you are living by your integrity and values. Feedback might come from others who could be seeing something more clearly than you can see it in yourself. Or, you might find that a minor irritation about someone or something outside of yourself suddenly becomes a major problem. This is probably because you're seeing it more clearly (although not necessarily more accurately). The lesson of this transit is that everything gets amplified together – the positive and the negative, and at a certain point the difference between them may become meaningless. Reaching a balanced understanding of all that lies within that expanded view is the key to gaining wisdom from the experience.   

Aug.15 – Mars trine Chiron (23:42 of Gemini/Aquarius) (Aug.16 in UK, AU)

The healing of assertive energy and willpower mark this transit. It is bound to be easier to get past any inhibition you might normally feel about being assertive, expressing frustration and anger, and putting things into action. Perhaps you are able to reconcile some internal guilt or fear that has held you back in the past. Or, maybe you are finally able to reach a state of acceptance or resolution that allows you to move beyond a conflict or struggle that has been keeping you stuck. Applying your willpower to problems has a better chance of succeeding now because you're likely to be more attuned to the path that leads to peace rather than more conflict. It's possible you might choose to use this energy in the defence of another person, a cause or something else you feel passionately about. It's possible to focus your energy, intent, motives and actions in ways that are healing, healthy, balanced and constructive.   

Aug.16 – Sun opposite Chiron (23:41 of Leo/Aquarius)

This transit can bring a challenge to your sense of personal purpose versus the trans-personal vision of possibilities. This could play out in many areas; for instance, spirituality, career, life direction, physical or emotional healing, etc. Perhaps you are feeling a conflict between what you want to gain on a personal level versus a higher vision of what you could be capable of. The problem is that to reach for greater possibilities, you have to move beyond your comfort zone. There is a certain amount of risk and sacrifice involved in any kind of growth. You might worry that moving into a larger context could undermine your self-esteem by making you feel small or inadequate. You may be concerned that you'd have to give up personal rewards in order to achieve that higher vision. Regardless of how this plays out in your life, the struggle to find a balance you can live with – between what is and what could be – is the purpose of this transit. Later it will be time to take further action, but for how it is important to grapple with the dynamics of your situation which will lead to a decision.   

Aug.16-23 – Yod aspect pattern ("What's a Yod?"  Read more about the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction.)

Yod aspect figure

So: have you figured out what the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction is doing in your life these days? Do you have a sense of how they are urging you to expand your vision of what you want in your life, where you want it to go, and what you're prepared to sacrifice or struggle with in order to get there? Perhaps you feel so inspired that you're not sure where to start. Or maybe you're overwhelmed by the call of a greater potential and you're not sure if you can live up to it?

Well, this Yod aspect pattern will challenge you to get a clearer understanding of the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron influence by finding ways that you can connect that greater vision to the ordinary, everyday and moment-to-moment aspects of your life and yourself. For example, observe your thoughts, your "self-talk" and the ideas that come out of your mouth most easily. Are these things reflective of moving yourself to a greater potential, or do you need to shift your thinking and how you talk about things? Even if you're not sure what that that potential is or how you would achieve it, looking at how you think about things is a great place to start. For example, if self-defeating or pessimistic thoughts come easily to you, you might need to become more open to the idea that better things can happen to you in order to begin attracting them. Whatever you think and communicate, that's the kind of experience you're most likely to draw into your life.

This could be very tricky because in a sense you are being challenged to find the ordinary in the extraordinary and the extraordinary in the ordinary. However, this is essential if you are going to begin to manifest this potential. No one can be wowee-zowee 24/7. It's essential to have the ability to be comfortable with yourself when you're not being exceptional. But it's also important to not lose sight of your exceptional side when you're being "just you." It's this kind of balance that the Yod will push you find, and it may feel pretty irritating, frustrating or discouraging for a while. Don't lose faith! Keep working at it, fine-tuning your process one thought at a time, one desire at a time, one sentence at a time, one nurturing moment at a time.

This is a very crowded Yod! At the apex are Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune in Aquarius. At the other end are the Mercury-Saturn conjunction and Venus (which is joined by the Moon on the 17th). Normally a Yod will last for just a few days but this one lingers for a week, due to Mercury and Venus moving in aspect through the "big three" in Aquarius, one by one. The upcoming New Moon in Leo has this Yod in the chart and it will colour that whole lunar cycle.   

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Aug.17 – Sun sextile Mars (24:40 of Leo/Gemini)

You have power, energy, motivation and enthusiasm to fuel your ambitions now! The catch is you will need to reach for it; it won't simply "come to you." Reach into your past experience and reach forward toward your vision of what you want. This will help to guide your actions and focus your assertive energy in the direction you want to go. This is a good time to make progress toward a goal. Or, you might want to take steps to leave behind inhibitions that have held you back. This transit can also make you more apt to take risks and find the courage to do things you might not otherwise do. Your tolerance for obstacles may be shortened, and making it easy to assume the only way through them is by using direct force. This may or may not be wise, depending on how extreme you want to take it, so use your good judgment and don't throw away your diplomacy.   

Aug.17 – Mercury enters the Shadow (21:39 of Virgo, until Oct.15) ("What's the Shadow?"  Read more about Retrograde Cycles.  Read more about Mercury Retrograde.)

Mercury again enters the Shadow – the area of Zodiac where it will later go retrograde (Sep.07-29). During its retrograde cycle, Mercury travels through the same span of the Zodiac three times (called the Shadow). The first time through, it is going in direct motion (moving forward), then retrograde (looks like it's going backwards), and then direct again. This means there is a more involved process of development and change involved with things that Mercury influences—ideas, thoughts, frame of mind and mental focus. It also concerns the collection, exchange, analysis and organisation of information. All forms of communication are also affected—email and snail mail, the Internet, the media in general, books and magazines, as well as public transit (buses, trains, etc.) and neighbourhoods. The situations developing over the next 2 weeks (leading up to when Mercury actually goes retrograde) will likely require further research, deeper consideration and adjustments to unexpected discoveries over the next couple of months. Expect changes in your plans, increasingly disrupted communication, and new information coming to light that may not fit conveniently into your plans. It's wise to leave lots of extra time to do things, plan future projects and get to wherever you're going. If you must make important decisions during this time, try to build some flexibility into your plans to allow for later changes—or if possible, you may want to delay final or irrevocable decisions until well after Mercury goes direct (Sep.29).

Mercury makes some dynamic and challenging aspects during this cycle. In fact, all through August Mercury plays a very important role in a T-square aspect pattern that turns into a Grand Cross later in the month. Mercury conjoins Saturn (Aug.17, Sep.22, Oct.08), squares Mars (Aug.25, Sep.03, Nov.01), squares Pluto (Aug.26, Sep.17, Oct.10), and opposes Uranus (Aug.21, Sep.23, Oct.04). There will be much more about the Grand Cross in the next update, but in a nutshell, it will bring you to a point of making some important choices and decisions about what role you are prepared to play in the great drama of world change that will be unfolding over the next few years. Mercury also plays a role in the long-term Yod aspect pattern that is currently in effect.   

Aug.17-27 – Mystic Rectangle aspect pattern  ("What's a Mystic Rectangle?")

Mystic Rectangle aspect figure

Again, the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction interacts with other planets to form a special aspect patter – this time a Mystic Rectangle. The Sun opposes the "big three" in Aquarius, while Mars opposes Pluto. These planets are in turn connected to each other by sextiles (60°) and trines (120°). It's a mixture of tension and ease; stress and harmony; challenge and ability.

This can be a time when you find it difficult to know how to move toward something more fulfilling and inspiring in your life, while also being aware of the sacrifices, compromises or struggles you could face in order to do that. At the same time, the part of you that wants to get moving with your plans and dreams may feel a bit overwhelmed, intimidated or daunted by what seems like a difficult uphill battle in order to do that. These are challenges that will likely take a bit of time and effort to come to terms with them. As you adjust yourself to one issue, it may solve some problems but will create others that will need to be addressed.

The good news is that although you may feel like you're going through a lot on the inside, you are likely to be able to function well on the outside. In other words, this is unlikely to interfere seriously with what you are doing in your life, and in fact the psychological "heat" generated by the tension and struggle could easily fuel some very creative energy that can be used in your work, actions and self-expression.

This is actually an expansion of the Wedge aspect pattern that has been in effect since Aug.07. The creative potential of that pattern now becomes a bit more of a challenge as you now approach a crossroads of how to put that potential into action. There are a few problematic possibilities to watch out for. First, be careful that your passion doesn't become obsession (masquerading as creative angst). Second, try not to let any anger or fear you might feel get turned in on itself (beating yourself up) or acted out by turned it outward (taking it out on someone else). Third, watch for unconscious emotions that have a smooth, polished appearance when expressed, but have barbed wire hidden underneath (for example, saying something hurtful but trying to pass it off as a joke). You have access to some potent energy right now, so use it wisely, carefully and with the big picture in mind ...kind of like you would use a very sharp knife to cut out a beautiful paper sculpture.   

Aug.17 – Mercury conjunct Saturn (21:11 of Virgo) (Aug.18 in AU)

It's time to take a serious look at the circumstances and situations in your life. This transit may not exactly be "party time" but it's a great transit to have when you need to take a dispassionate, objective, clear view of life. You may be called upon to make a decision about something. For example, you might need to commit yourself to a particular plan of action, or start developing plans toward a particular goal. In either case, it may be necessary to limit or let go of other options. You might come to the conclusion that something has run its course and it's time to leave it behind – like an opinion or project or mindset. It's a time when your perception, thoughts and words may not be exciting, imaginative or entertaining, but you're probably more able to be clear, grounded decisive and hard working.

This is the first of three passes: Aug.17, Sep.22, Oct.08.   

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Aug.17 – Sun opposite Neptune (25:04 of Leo/Aquarius) (Aug.18 in AU)

For a few days, you are face to face with the boundless universe! This could come to you in a number of ways, from creative inspiration to vivid dreams to enchanted encounters with great mystery. There is a tension now between clarity of purpose and infinite vision; between being centred in yourself versus being connected to the Great Unknown; and/or between personal independence and autonomy versus blurred boundaries with a person or situation. If you lose your bearings, you could feel some depression, lethargy or confusion. Your dreams, longings and expectations may be rooted more in wishful thinking than reality right now, which could lead to disappointment or disillusionment. It's a good idea to do a reality check with a trusted friend if you need to make any important decisions. On the other hand, you are also able to see your hopes, dreams and illusions more clearly than usual, reflected back through other people or the outside world. It may be like looking in a cosmic mirror that shows you what's going on in your subconscious. Just remember that it may be hard to tell which is the real thing and which is the mirrored reflection. Just like a dream, you might get better insight by interpreting them intuitively rather than literally. Try expressing your experiences, feelings and perceptions in ways that are poetic, artistic, creative and non-rational.   

Aug.17 – Mars trine Neptune (25:04 of Gemini/Aquarius) (Aug.18 in AU)

This transit can bring a mystical, imaginative, compassionate aura to Mars' normally direct, fast, aggressive, self-focused energy. You may feel inspired to act on faith, confront with compassion, and react gently. On the other hand, it can be much easier to be motivated by something that turns out not to be what you thought it was. Much can depend on how impulsive your actions are and whether they are based on preplanning and research. We may tend to see our actions as righteous and justified. Creative energy is usually strong, whether this is used literally in the arts or in finding creative solutions to conflicts and problems. Our anger and aggression may be expressed in a way that is compassionate and intuitive, although our assertive edge might also be blunted a bit too much. It might help to think of the snake in the old parable – even if you choose not to bite if someone steps on your tail, it doesn’t mean you can't hiss.   

Aug.18 – Mars square Uranus (25:44 of Gemini/Pisces) (Aug.19 in AU)

Erratic action and unpredictable impulses can surface under this transit. Active energy is more available now, but it can be very hard to control its direction, speed, intensity or predictability. Under this volatile atmosphere, unconscious or suppressed emotions (like anger, frustration, fear or desire) can jump out when you least expect them. Being accident prone is not uncommon. This can be great if you're trying to release inhibitions, find courage to sprint forward or break out of an old habit. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee that your actions won't turn out to be destructive, counter-productive or too much of a good thing. You might be tempted to take greater risks than is wise, but this risk-taking impulse can also break you out of a rut too. It's important to use your best judgment when faced with this kind of potent yet volatile energy.   

Aug.19 – Venus sextile Saturn (21:24 of Cancer/Virgo)

It is possible to find some stability in your relationships and finances under this transit, especially if you are willing to negotiate fairly and realistically. You have increased ability to be disciplined about spending and budgeting, and to invest in hard work to maximise your earnings. Your ability to grasp the solid, realistic facts will help you choose wisely in your investments of both money and your interaction with others. Commitment and structure may be easier to approach and achieve than if you take risks now. Your self-worth can benefit from this transit because you may be less inclined to give in to mood swings. On the other hand, if you are prone to depression, you might want to be careful you don't become so grounded and stable that you lose touch with your sense of hope and potential. It is a good time to make concrete progress in matters involving beauty, love, harmony and balance. Keep your pleasures simple and humble for maximum benefit.   

Next Update:  NEW MOON in LEO - August 20, 2009. Available by August 20.

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