You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution.
It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.
~ Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed
Aquarius: 'tis a puzzlement!
For example, it is the sign of the "Water Bearer" and usually depicted as a man with a large vase from which water pours. Yet, counter-intuitively, it is not a Water sign but an Air sign.
Aquarius is a goldfish that leaps to escape its life-preserving bowl for greater unknown waters. Aquarius is also the container whose purpose it is to hold the water that inevitably gets spilled anyway. And although that liberation from confinement can create one helluva mess, when it's done in the right place at the right time, it can also etch out new pathways and nourish fresh growth.
By modern rulership, Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, which is associated with disruption, unexpected events and chaos. On the other hand, it is a Fixed sign, which typically means it doesn't like change and prefers to maintain a consistent, continuous state of existence for as long as possible.
By traditional rulership, its ruling planet is Saturn, which also rules Capricorn. Saturn is best known for its love of order, control and conventionality. So much for the weird and wonderful reputation of Aquarius!
There are many ideas about how to make sense of these wildly divergent planetary energies that share ambassadorship for Aquarius.
All wisdom ends in paradox.
~ Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
Aquarius governs groups of like-minded individuals, so there might be a hidden clue within the complexities of group dynamics. On one hand a group needs structure and commonality in order to stay together. On the other hand, the collective undercurrents in any group are constantly on the move, ebbing, flowing and cycling around different perspectives.
In groups there is always a dynamic tension between change and conformity; forming and breaking norms; and order and disorder. It's a bit like walking, where movement is achieved through action that continually adjusts your equilibrium between falling and landing.
Another analogy for this precarious Aquarius balance is how a planet orbits the Sun. The planet is moving fast in one direction, yet the Sun's gravity pulls it closer to itself. If there is more motion than gravity, the planet would go spinning off into space. If there is more gravity than motion, the planet will get closer and closer until it crashes into the Sun. It is the balance between these two forces that allows every planet to maintain its orbit.
In a similar way, Aquarius maintains a tricky creative tension by balancing its Saturn and Uranus sides across the pointy end of a pinnacle. When Saturn tips the scale, that Fixed controlling nature tends to kick in. The Saturn side of us digs in our heels, insists that any breaks with convention must be sifted through our priority filter to determine if, when, how and why it will be done. It's not that we don't see a new vision; it's that we may be adamant that everyone else see and follow the same vision. Put another way by an old friend: "Everyone be different, just like me!"
When Uranus upsets the balance, the Airy nature can become dominant. Our perspective may become more intellectual, cool and detached. Or, perhaps we have zero patience for our immediate, everyday surroundings, preferring to let our imaginations become captured by distant possibilities. We might become so preoccupied with envisioning a better world that is radically different than the one we see around us, that we have little tolerance for anything that seems to interfere with that.
If we wish to assign Leo to "personal ego," then Aquarius becomes
"social ego." Both are implications of the fixed mode of Leo and Aquarius.
~ Joseph Crane, Liberating Uranus and Aquarius – From Each Other
This battle between the Saturn and Uranus sides of Aquarius is a notably sharp-edged theme in the Aquarius Full Moon chart. The fact that this is also a (sort of...) Lunar Eclipse could possibly amplify this theme somewhat. Maybe. I say "sort of" and "maybe" because the Moon just barely grazes the shadow of the Earth. In fact, this eclipse is so miniscule that it is not even considered an eclipse by many websites that report about such things.
As a result you probably won't feel any eclipse effects at all. Normally a lunar eclipse would amplify the intensity and force of the (in this case, Aquarius) energy. Rather than registering as a big spike on the energy radar, this might be more like a barely perceptible blip.
However, it's still a Full Moon. The fact that any eclipse effect is microscopic doesn't diminish the effects of Saturn and Uranus hissing and spitting at each other. The aspect between them is an extremely tight sesqui-quadrate (135°) which is a fancy word for three-eighths of the circle. Also known as a tri-octile. Think "a square-and-a-half" ...in more ways than one!
Being part of the square family of aspects, the sesqui-quadrate (SSQ; pronounced SES-kwee-QUAD-rate) aspect is rooted in tension, conflict, struggle and motivation pushed forward at the pointy end of sharp discomfort. When we're talking about transiting planets, this aspect represents turning points in a long-term process.
The entire 44-year Saturn-Uranus cycle began in 1988. At that time, many financial changes had taken root resulting from the policy changes under President Ronald Reagan during the 80s. Whether those policies are seen as good or bad, the effects and controversy related to those changes seem to be a recurring theme throughout this Saturn-Uranus cycle.
The emergence point of this cycle was the Saturn-Uranus opposition (180°) in 2008-2010. That opposition saw the collapse of the world's economy and other changes in the US economic and political landscape. Subsequent ripple effects continue to rock the collective boat in many American and global sectors.
Everything I've ever done, ever thought, ever experienced, and ever felt, has led me up to this moment in my life. And after accumulating and culminating it, all I can say is, "Ahhhhh!"
~ Jarod Kintz, Great Listener Seeks Mute Women
Flash forward to 2014 when the first of 3 sesqui-quadrate passes began, stretching into 2015: Dec.03.2014, May.04.2015, Oct.22.2015. This turning point of the cycle has pivoted around the continuing conflicts and collision of opinions about how best to stabilize and strengthen the global economy and how far its effects should reach into other areas of society.
But this turning point is still spinning. Saturn retrograded back and stationed (changed from retrograde to direct) on Aug.13 just shy of another SQQ with Uranus. The closest orb occurred on Aug.02, being just 0:12 away from an exact SQQ.
From Jul.15 to Sep.01, they are poised within one degree of being exact (although the effects of this final semi-pass probably linger for another couple of weeks before and after). So if things seem a bit volatile, erratic and disruptive during this time, now you know one reason why! (But we probably didn't need astrology to tell us that, did we...)
By the Full Moon in Aquarius, Saturn is starting to pick up speed again and still has a tight 0:26 orb for the SQQ with Uranus. Nevertheless, since this involves both planetary rulers (or ambassadors, if you prefer) of the Full Moon's sign, this takes on special importance.
The good news is that starting this December, Saturn and Uranus will be in a trine aspect (120°): Dec.24.2016, May.19.2017 and Nov.11.2017. After almost 2 years of these heavy energies battling it out, the resolution they come to now will find a more peaceful, cooperative balance that will make a more constructive combined force.
Therefore, it will help to make a conscious decision about how you want to go forward from the struggles of the last couple of years. The more you can find a solution you can live with and the more you can choose to be okay with that solution, the more you will be in a position to do something productive with it over the coming year.
Is Uranus the planet of technology? Yes – when a new technology first appears. It's a breakthrough, dissolving the sense of what is possible. Yet once invention becomes assimilated to daily life, it is no longer Uranian but Mercurial. Think of your relationship with the device you are using to read this article or what you used to print it out.
~ Joseph Crane, Liberating Uranus and Aquarius – From Each Other
Getting Saturn and Uranus to dance together is no easy feat! Saturn pulls one way, toward a slow, steady, cautious and carefully structured waltz, while Uranus tries to lead Saturn in a daring tango out into the street. Getting them to dance with compatible steps in the same direction, without tripping over each other's feet and colliding with others on the dance floor, can be exhausting, infuriating, confusing and disorienting.
Put another way, when Saturn is in charge it's like riding a wild horse. You'll have to use both hands on the reins, a very firm grip and a lot of self-discipline and skill to keep it from galloping out of control. And you might find you have to keep doing that or else the horse could revolt again.
On the other hand, putting Uranus in charge is like using dynamite to renovate your house. Yes, it will rapidly do away with the existing backyard wall and clear the way for the new addition. And yes, it will be exciting and might even look like pretty fireworks if you do it in the dark of the night. But there will be an awful lot of splintery rubble to clean up and you risk setting your own house and the whole neighbourhood on fire in the process (and those neighbours will already be annoyed at your from the noise you're making).
A middle ground solution is likely to be more effective but not as satisfying to either side of this dichotomy. Saturn will have to bite his lip and not bark orders, and he'll have to resign himself to dealing with a messier, more erratic progress than he's comfortable with. Uranus will have to settle for a longer process of knocking down the old structure by hand, piece by boring piece; and he might have to agree to a design for the new addition that is not quite as unique, unconventional and dazzling as he had envisioned.
There is scarcely any passion without struggle.
~ Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
Saturn is also about to be conjoined by Mars, which is exact on Aug.24. As if poor Saturn didn't have enough to deal with! Mars and Uranus are similar energies in that they both act impulsively along the shortest line between two points – and neither of them considers it important to worry about the consequences.
Saturn, being Saturn, sees nothing but those consequences, and responds to each in much the same way, trying to get them to slow down and think twice about what they're doing—which leaves both feeling like they just got locked in Slow Motion Hell. And since Mars is the dispositor of Uranus (being the planetary ruler of Aries, where Uranus currently is), the two may well try their best to send Saturn into Whirlwind Hell.
The biggest difference between Mars and Uranus, from Saturn's point of view, is that Mars can be dealt with a bit more easily. Mars is a "known quantity" – a relatively familiar, manageable energy. Uranus, on the other hand, is a much more unpredictable, uncontained energy.
However, Saturn and Mars can work together constructively and effectively, when the drive, passion and enthusiasm of Mars can be captured and harnessed (but not smothered) by Saturn's mature guiding hand. The trick is to find a happy medium that combines the best of action and resistance.
On the other hand, these two don't work and play well together easily, even at the best of times. It is one of the quintessential "difficult transits" in astrology. It can bring frustration, weariness, depression or rage, depending on how you deal with your will being tempered or thwarted by circumstances that won't change (easily) to suit your bidding.
At its worst, Mars-Saturn can feel as if, like Sisyphus, you're pushing a rock uphill only to have your hard work sabotaged by the gods ...just because they can. I could tell you that this experience is meant to strengthen your resolve or skill set, and that what you're trying to do simply takes more time and effort than you thought it would ...but then you'd probably hit me. ;-)
Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry,
but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?
~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
But wait a minute.... there's also Neptune in square aspect (90°) to Mars and Saturn. Just when you thought you could start writing your business plan, Neptune steps in with yet another aspiration – moral and spiritual integrity, as well as envisioning how your plans could help create a better world.
This has been a recurrent theme this year as the Saturn-Neptune square has played out (Nov.26.2015, Jun.17.2015 and Sep.10.2016). Mars reaches the square to Neptune on Aug.26, while it will take Saturn until Sep.10 to perfect the square.
Now: Saturn says he's all fine and dandy with building a greater vision—ideally with Mars' help and minus the attitude—but let's not go overboard! The thing is that everyone has a different idea of what that looks like. Neptune is our umbilical cord that attaches us to a greater sense of universal meaning, but our experience and understanding of that are as individual as we are.
Therefore, in whatever you're trying to achieve through Saturn's practical agenda, Neptune wants it to speak to the Ages and pave the way to the highest pinnacle of human evolution. Uranus pulls you in a similar direction, wanting your efforts to speak to the future, be it next week, next year, your next big project or even future generations.
That means Saturn—the CEO of manifesting our life's purpose and intentions—needs to incorporate more than just the definition of our goals and results. That part of us must include beauty, flexibility, creative imagination and daring in what we do.
The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can't be any large-scale revolution until there's a personal revolution, on an individual level.
It's got to happen inside first.
~ Jim Morrison
At its best, this eclipse-ish Full Moon in Aquarius can give you an opportunity to find a focused and potentially fulfilling path through the middle of all that crazy-making Saturn-Uranus-Neptune-Mars turmoil and it. Find and celebrate your uniqueness. Use your creative intelligence to understand how your priorities—practical and spiritual—fit into the chaos of the outside world.
What does your individual perspective notice in the jumbled disarray that is the collective? How much of your perception is a reflection of only what you want to see? Put another way, how much of it is simply a denial or avoidance of what you're afraid you might see? How does your view change if you look at it in a slightly different way? What do you see that is different from what others see or how you usually see things?
Are you leaning toward the Saturn side of Aquarius or the Uranus side? How's that workin' for ya? Check to see if it might work a bit better if you balanced these diverse energies a little differently.
This could be a time when it helps to reach out to your circle of like-minded folk, to keep you connected to the world around you in a positive, reinforcing way. What can you contribute or what can you learn through participation?
On the other hand, this may be a time when you could benefit by separating from the group a bit. Venture outside the usual boundaries of agreed-upon priorities and beliefs. What you discover may surprise you, whether that leads you to change your mind about something or just understand it more completely.
In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk.
Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood
like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.
~ Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
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.
This aspect can make you quite talkative and your mind flooded with ideas. Be careful you don't blurt out any secrets! Your stream of consciousness ideas can flow abundantly right now with optimism and visionary possibilities. Write down your best ideas for later development, since you may be having too much fun playing with ideas, to stop and make them manifest. Basic perceptions and simple communication can provide food for thought that feeds your greater understanding and philosophical insight. Your point of view expands to identify opportunities, possibilities and the broader implications of what is happening around you. You might get a flash of vision, insight and inspiration. You could be called upon to form an opinion, consider a different viewpoint, expand your knowledge, or make a judgement call. Your conscious awareness is open to spiritual experiences right now.
Mars now leaves the Retrograde Shadow – the span of the Zodiac where it was retrograde up until about 2 months ago. Mars goes through 3 phases in its retrograde cycle. The pre-retrograde phase is where Mars enters the Shadow – the area of the Zodiac where it will go retrograde – and lasts for 6-9 weeks. The retrograde phase is where Mars appears to go backwards in the sky (retrograde motion), which lasts for about 8-12 weeks. The post-retrograde phase is when Mars makes his final pass through the Shadow, again lasting about 6-9 weeks.
If you think back to these time periods, you may notice a pattern involving Mars-related areas of your life. This includes physical and mental energy, anger and assertiveness, conflict and challenge, aggression and hostility, courage and risk-taking, motivation and enthusiasm, ambition and obsession, disruptive change and putting things into action. You might have experienced either an increase or decrease in some of these areas over the last 6 months, especially during the retrograde period.
Now, Mars is leaving the post-retrograde Shadow phase, which finishes this long retrograde cycle. If Mars-related areas became stronger and more noticeable, or if they seemed to fade into the background or dropped in strength for a while, they are likely returning to their "normal" state (whatever that is for you). We will not see another Mars Retrograde Shadow again for another 1.5 years.
Mars is a more straightforward, regular Mars now, instead of being Mars with an especially pointed axe to grind (over and over...).
Happy Solar Return to all Virgos! While the Sun is in Virgo, we are all honorary Virgos. You are encouraged to clean out the toxins in your body and mind. Organise and tidy up your life, in whatever ways it is "a mess." And take stock of the ways you give service and make a contribution to the world around you. Take some time to pay attention to the details and precision of what you do, and appreciate how much you can do with very little. During this transit, organisation, useful procedures and practical application come together to form the key that opens the door to effectiveness, efficiency and improvement. This is a good time to adopt a service-oriented attitude, whether that involves being helpful to someone else or dedicated to your own healing and betterment. You could volunteer your time. Or, perform some "random acts of kindness." Or, just do something nice for someone. Projects and problem solving may work a bit better if you take an analytical, methodical approach to them (rather than intuitive or guessing). This is a good time to assimilate and "digest" the results of any preparation you've been doing toward a project, goal or production. Weed out what doesn't work and what doesn't support your efforts, and then reorganise and simplify whatever is left. Just don't get so carried away that you throw away something that's important to you or your goals.
This is one of those good-news/bad-news kinds of transits. The forceful, exuberant energy of Mars meets the cautious, serious energy of Saturn. This combination can create a lot of productivity or a lot of frustration – and often both. The wild horse of Mars energy can become a workhorse when combined with Saturn's discipline, capable of sustained effort that can bring concrete results. But it may also bring impatience from having your efforts blocked or delayed, or having to be accountable for impulsive actions. If having to conform to discipline, limitation and responsibility tend to trigger you into resisting and fighting back, you might feel a lot of anger and frustration under this transit. On the other hand, it could also help you come to terms with a difficult reality or decision, to take the necessary initial steps that can lead to long-term achievement and development. It is a good time to take action that has been carefully considered and planned out, or to start making plans for a long-term project.
As Mars conjoins Saturn on the 24th, it also squares Neptune (exact 2 days later: Aug.26). You're likely to feel and observe the effects of these transits for a few weeks before and after they are exact, and they become more pronounced within a few days of the exact dates.
In between those exact dates, on Aug.25, the Moon opposes Mars and Saturn. This creates a T-square aspect pattern: Moon opposite Mars and Saturn, squared by Neptune. As a result, the 25th in particular could be a time when you really feel the effects of the Mars-Saturn and the Mars-Neptune. It's probably a good idea to slow down and try to keep your frustration, guilt and shame levels to a minimum. In other words, try to avoid things that get you triggered into rage, depression, anxiety or feelings of inadequacy. If those feelings do come up, use it as an opportunity to become more aware of how those feelings and what lies at the root of them.
On the other hand, you might also find that you become especially motivated to do better, achieve more and strive to reach higher than usual. It's good to take advantage of these moments, but take care not to aim so high that you self-sabotage or set yourself up for failure. For best results, take action after careful, thorough planning, not on impulse.
You may be extra sensitive to other people's suffering, struggles or dilemmas under this transit. Your own ongoing issues in relationships or finances may undergo a kind of "healing crisis" in which you endure increased problems and must use extra tolerance, compromise or negotiation to keep things from collapsing into a worse state. At the same time, you may be able to reach a new level of acceptance and peace – not necessarily by solving the problems, but by letting go of the struggles that are not as important as you thought and by making the best of the ones that are left. Other people or outside circumstances may give you a push in this direction, which might feel at first like old wounds are being opened up. But this is an opportunity to find new ways to bring healing and balance to old problems, especially using tolerance, compromise and acceptance.
For up to a week before and after today, you have a chance to discover and work with your blind spots and the hidden motives that trip you up. It may feel like you are spinning your wheels or "shadow-boxing" and not even sure why. You may be fighting a hidden agenda or unconscious motives (yours or someone else's). You might also be trying to apply a concrete solution to an ambiguous situation, and then wondering why it isn't working very well. Responding to conflicts in a passive-aggressive or manipulative way can be tempting under this transit, since you may not know how to take direct and effective action. Resentment might become a defiant way to express toothless anger. Part of the problem may be that you are fighting against your own idealism, and resisting the acceptance that the other person or situation can't be the way you want them to be. Feelings of disappointment or helplessness may trigger much deeper feelings from your unconscious, making it difficult for you to know how to respond effectively in the here-and-now. It will probably help to work on owning your feelings, needs, longings and (hidden) agendas. Being honest with yourself about what's really going on inside you will go a long way toward increasing your empowerment.
Romance is in the air, harmony is reflected in everything around you, and love and beauty abound! This can be a time of sweet mercy, pleasure and peace, both personally and in relationships. It can also be a time when your ability to attract money, resources and rewards into your life are especially strong. You might consider indulging in a lottery ticket! Or maybe treating yourself to some creature comforts, like a massage or a double chocolate brownie or anything that gets the endorphins flowing! Unfortunately, this can also be a time when you are prone to over-indulge in pleasures or overestimate your resources. By all means enjoy this lovely feel-good energy, but it's also wise to keep your "addictions" in check. Don't entirely disregard your diet, your budget or your realism in relationships.
Social connections, diplomatic communication and receptive awareness mark this transit. It can be a great time to negotiate contracts or agreements because the communication can usually flow easily. Focus your awareness on achieving a mutual balance between you and the other person. A win-win solution is especially easy to achieve now – so much so, in fact, that it might be tempting to only say what you think the other person wants to hear (which may or may not be wise). This can also be a time of appreciating and expressing beauty, pleasure and sensuality. If there's someone you want to get closer to (in terms of romance, friendship, business, partnership, or even an adversary!), talking gently and listening receptively can be the key that unlocks the door. You may also get new creative ideas from your interactions with people or from observing them.
For a week or so, it might feel like the actions you must take to deal with current circumstances are at cross purposes to what you see as your higher purpose or optimal direction in life. You might feel at odds with others, or in the wrong place at the wrong time. On the other hand, this can be a time when being forced to take a temporary "detour" off your chosen path can bring an opportunity to gather new resources, information or insight that can actually help you more, in the long run, than if you had stayed on the main path. However, there's never any one way to experience a given transit. The question becomes: is veering off the main path something that enables you to avoid something you should be facing? Or is does this detour bring you to a new perspective or resources that you are resisting because it's off the main path? Either way, it's a good idea to balance your impulses and passions with mindful awareness.
Venus glides like a graceful model through her own sign of Libra, giving you the opportunity to expand your interactive style, cultivate diplomacy, beautify your surroundings, schmooze with social connections, and discover a new fashion statement. Find something beautiful, balanced or harmonious to appreciate or do during this time. You might consider visiting an art gallery, or watch a romantic movie, or listen to music that moves you into a peaceful place inside. You might feel drawn to going shopping for beautiful clothes or items to decorate your home. It can also be a good time to negotiate agreements with people, in a way that is fair and is focused on a win-win solution. Do something to celebrate, express and discover your inner and/or outer beauty. Find new ways to balance your own interests with those of others, which generates good will and harmony.
Yes, it's that time again! Mercury goes retrograde for the next 3+ weeks. For up to a week before and after today, Mercury is moving very slowly or stopped (hence "stationary" or "making a station"). During this time, you may experience intensity, frustration, confusion, miscommunications, or feel like you're getting bogging down in your progress.
Mercury retrograde is usually a time when it is a good time to rethink, rehash, reflect, and tie up old loose ends, rather than begin new ventures. It is typical for new insights and information to emerge later in the retrograde cycle that you didn't anticipate, which can change the whole picture. Because of this, it is usually advised to avoid making final or permanent decisions (e.g., signing contracts or putting new projects into action), during the retrograde and even up to 2 weeks after Mercury goes direct. However, it is an excellent time to do fact-finding, research and investigation to prepare for major decisions, which are usually best put off until well after Mercury goes direct.
In the meantime, while Mercury is retrograde, expect the unexpected, and leave lots of extra time when planning your schedule (to minimize any disruptions from delays and complications). Stay flexible and learn to roll with the weirdness. It's common to have to reschedule appointments or redo things because the instructions or information got messed up the first time. Do some things that use your intuitive, creative, non-rational mind for a while until Mercury goes direct again.
If you absolutely must do something important during this time that can't be postponed, don't be surprised if you wind up having to redo things. It can help to be especially vigilant about triple-checking what you do, but some of these mishaps can't always be predicted or prevented, so don't be hard on yourself (nor on others).
Remember: Mercury loves to play practical jokes. This is his playtime. ;-) It helps to learn to laugh with him.
Here are the key dates of this Mercury cycle (for North American Eastern Time):
Let us notify you of updates!
Subscribe now to our Website Newsletter. (Your contact information is never shared.)
© 2016 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied without the author's written permission. Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at GoodReads.com. Artwork: photo of goldfish bowl by mikdam, photo of mechanic by corepics, both via CanStockPhoto. Illustration of August 2016 Lunar Eclipse by SockPuppetForTomruen at English Wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons