Low-Down Archives Aug-Sep 2009

August-September 2009

For the New Moon in Leo:
August 20 to September 4, 2009

...and the Full Moon in Pisces:
September 4 to 18, 2009

Aug.20 � NEW MOON in Leo (28:31 of Leo)


Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Aug.20, 6:02 AM EDT

London, UK:

Aug.20, 11:02 AM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Aug.20, 8:02 PM AEDT

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

This is a time of creative integration! After several months of struggling with disjointed efforts, resources, information and support, things are finally starting to come together. Opportunities are starting to move from possibility to probability or even actuality.

Opportunity, motivation, challenge and inspiration are all converging in that part of the universe you call your Self. The Self is the engine that drives your sense of identity, purpose, individuality, expression, creativity and joie de vivre. It is represented by your Sun sign ("What's my Sun sign?"), as well as the 5th house in your birth chart and any planets you have in the sign of Leo. When the Sun is travelling through Leo (as it does every year around this time) and also during the New Moon cycle in Leo (which begins today), your Self is typically strengthened, fortified, illuminated and encouraged to shine.

All year, the planets have been spaced out (in more ways than one!) so that they formed very few close aspect figures. Now suddenly we are engulfed in more aspect patterns than we know what to do with! As with all things astrology, this probably reflects the state of your life too. The planets are all positioned so that they are no more than 10 degrees apart in orb (from Jupiter at 21� to Pluto at 0�), so almost everybody is aspecting almost everybody else in the solar system right now!

Mercury is conjunct Saturn and participates in a number of aspect figures in the skies right now. It makes for a rather serious mindset but also keeps your mind focused on practical results, which can be a blessing during such a busy time of creative inspiration. At worst, this could bring out some depression if you are especially prone to this, so it may be important to keep a firm grip on a more optimistic lifeline in your life to pull you back to a more balanced perspective.

Mercury is approaching another retrograde cycle and will make 3 passes to Saturn. As a result, this aspect will be with us more or less until mid-October and will dominate the next New Moon (Sep.18). The Mercury-Saturn duo takes part in 3 different aspect patterns: a Yod, an Irritation Rectangle and a forming Grand Cross.

Yod almost-Kite aspect pattern

The Yod is an aspect pattern that provides creative irritation that can indicate a sense of destiny (at the apex of the Yod), as well as acting as a projection energy (from the apex to the base). In this case, destiny points to the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction in Aquarius which has dominated the skies all year. (Read more about this conjunction. Read more about this Yod aspect figure.) This group of planets encourages us to seek a higher, broader or more inspired vision of what we want our lives to be. It also challenges us to ensure that our "weakest link" is not left behind, but is incorporated into this vision through self-acceptance and allowing ourselves to be both human and a reflection of our more divine nature.

Your mission is to take this inspired vision and project it into conscious, practical application as well as close contact with others. This might be done unconsciously if you find yourself gravitating toward people who (you believe) can support you in reaching your goals, for example. If their reaction is not quite what you'd hoped, check if this has perhaps become a demanding expectation on your part instead of a mutually agreed exchange of support and assistance. On a more positive note, however, you can channel this energy into working cooperatively with others to co-create a better life, a better world.

With the New Moon in opposition to the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune group, this has enormous implications for where you see yourself in relation to this bigger picture. At its best, you could be very inspired by the part you can play to further the greater cause. At its worst, you might also see yourself as the central focus of this picture and have difficulty separating your ego's "needs of the one" from the greater "needs of the many." If this struggle becomes too overwhelming, you might need to find specific ways to get the applause, praise and validation you need. This shouldn't be a fight to simply squash your need to be the centre of attention. Rather, it is an opportunity to see a greater potential for yourself that will require you to share the spotlight (but not necessarily relinquish it altogether).

Irrigation Rectangle aspect pattern

The Irritation Rectangle is a subtler aspect figure. It consists of four (or more) planets joined by quincunx (150�) and semi-sextile (30�) aspects, with the corners of the box held in place by two oppositions (180�). Its name is taken from an excellent in-depth book on aspect configurations: Aspect Pattern Astrology by Bruno, Louise and Michael Alexander Huber. This figure can give great mental strength and resilience, but there is a risk of becoming stagnant if there is no flexibility in opinion, perception, imagination or self-expression. At its best, this figure can generate an atmosphere of seeking new information and ways to apply it, which feeds and expands your vision of what lies ahead. Since this figure usually indicates insecurity or uncertainty, it could also be used as an excuse to pressure others into agreeing with you or doing things your way, instead of allowing that uncertainty to feed your curiosity and quest for new insights.

There is also a Grand Cross forming in the skies (described in detail below). Its influence during this lunar cycle will be to push you into taking action that focuses on concrete results in the short-run, as well as the long-term implications. That means doing what is necessary to ensure your pragmatic needs are met in the here-and-now, but also with an eye to the vast changes that will unfold over the next several years.

In general, all these aspect figures bring together a lot of disjointed thoughts, ideas, possibilities, feelings, motives, choices, beliefs, desires, urges, actions and dreams. When different ingredients are mixed together, they can be clumpy and uneven at first, as well as hard to stir. Don't be discouraged if you run into problems, obstacles or sporadic movement in your progress. Keep gently stirring the pot, patiently dissolve the lumps when you come across them, and keep a beautiful picture of what you're "cooking up" within sight. A personal astrology reading can help you dissolve the lumps and keep moving.   

Aug.20-29 Grand Cross aspect pattern

Grand Cross aspect pattern

This Grand Cross began as a T-square aspect pattern on Aug.08, with Mars T-squaring the Mercury-Saturn conjunction on one side and Uranus on the other. Mars has now moved into orb to oppose Pluto, which means Pluto now forms the 4th corner of the box figure that we call a Grand Cross.

Mercury is really the star of this show because it holds this aspect pattern together. It also pulls Saturn into the pattern, giving us a preview of the powerful Saturn-Uranus-Pluto T-square coming in 2010. Saturn still lags behind in Virgo, not quite close enough to truly square Pluto (but it's close � give it another month or two). As Mercury moves through the zone of opposing Uranus and squaring Pluto and Mars, it is still conjunct Saturn. As a result, Saturn participates in the Grand Cross by "translation of light" through its conjunction with Mercury.

Mercury is up for the task, being well placed in its own sign of Virgo. This powerful Mercury conjunct Saturn strengthens analytical, logical, structured and organized thought. If you're trying to manifest a plan, this energy will support the precision, practicality and methodology that you need to make it work. If you want to create something artistic, it will help you keep focused on the results you're trying to create and not get sidetracked. If you tend to be intuitive or non-rational, this energy is likely to feel a bit uncomfortable but it can help keep you grounded with one foot on the ground.

The catch (there's always a catch...) is that Mercury/Saturn, Mars, Pluto and Uranus are all pulling in different directions with the force of a team of Clydesdale horses. It will take sturdy discipline, rooted focus, strength of self and heartfelt resolve to keep from being pulled out of your centre. However, you can't simply be stubborn, strict or arbitrary in the decisions you make and expect that this will do the trick. In fact, doing that is more likely to make a bad decision worse and take you farther away from what you're trying to achieve.

Ultimately, you will need to walk the walk, talk the talk and take the journey one mindful step at a time. There is quite a bit of intensity in the air, which could move into obsession or addiction if it's not balanced out with patience and realism. It's also important to be able to distinguish the inner intuitive voice that has your best interests at heart from the voice of temptation that keeps you stuck in deceptively safe, familiar behaviour.

On Aug.25-26, this energy could spike as 3 of the 4 points form an exact T-square, all at 0 degrees of Cardinal signs: Mars in Cancer, Mercury in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn. This could be a time of decisive action that breaks free of old patterns, or of obsessive thinking that is overly determined to have its own way. This T-square actually continues until about Sept.06, just in time for Mercury to turn retrograde on Sep.07. This suggests you should keep your decisions flexible and your options open, since Mercury retrograde usually brings new information and possibilities that lead to adjustments.

In general, this Grand Cross is a predecessor of the very powerful T-square that is coming in 2010 of Saturn, Uranus and Pluto in Cardinal signs (Libra, Aries and Capricorn, respectively). What you do with the Grand Cross energy now will help to lay the foundation for the huge push for change that is coming next year. Choose your direction wisely with the long-term implications in mind.   


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Aug.21 � Mercury opposite Uranus (25:39 of Virgo/Pisces)

This is a wakeup call! You are asked to open your mind so that you can see something about your life, yourself or your situation that has eluded you until now. It might be a shocking revelation that changes your whole perspective...or it might also be a delightful surprise that adds a new dimension you hadn't thought of. However it manifests, you are in a position to see your situation more clearly and objectively � although this can also make it seem like this energy is outside of you and happening TO you. However, if you look closely inside yourself, you may see thoughts, perceptions and impressions that correspond to the external events and participate in the interchange. Emails, Internet chats, and interaction with technology may be part of this transit as well. Communication may be a bit erratic or unpredictable, so be careful not to speak thoughtlessly or carelessly. However, you may find that words and perceptions come to you intuitively and spontaneously.   

Aug.21 � North Lunar Node enters Capricorn (until Mar.03.2011) (Aug.22 in AU)

The true lunar nodes now change signs, which they do approximately every 19 months. (The true lunar nodes are measured more precisely than the mean nodes whose positions are averaged. Both types of nodes move in retrograde motion or backwards through the zodiac.) The North node now moves into Capricorn from Aquarius, while the South node (always exactly opposite the North node) moves into Cancer from Leo. The most obvious result of this is that the eclipses will now occur in Cancer and Capricorn, whereas they have been primarily in Leo and Aquarius since Dec. 2007.

The North node shows where we're heading. It's where we need to develop skills, abilities and personal growth. The South node is where we're coming from and what we're moving away from. It's sometimes thought of as a place of undoing if we get stuck there.

The North node in Capricorn challenges us to cultivate a sense of authority, responsibility and maturity. In Capricorn we develop skills and experience, thereby increasing self-confidence and adequacy. The South node in Cancer suggests it's time to let go of our need to look to someone else for permission to do what we feel is best, and instead to become our own parent.

The South node is now at 29� of Cancer, where it stays until around Sep.09. What is interesting about this is that during this time it conjoins the degree of the Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer that took place on July 21 (exactly conjunct it on Sep.05). This could bring that eclipse's energy into focus, particularly what we need to let go of in order to become more independent, self-sufficient and autonomous. Be on the lookout for feelings and experiences that bring out a more dependent, vulnerable or needy part of you that needs extra support. It doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't turn to others for encouragement, nurturing or caring, but perhaps it will be helpful to be the first person you turn to when you're feeling insecure, lonely or vulnerable. In other words, try being your own parent a little more than usual.   

Aug.22 � Venus trine Uranus (25:36 of Cancer/Pisces) (Aug.23 in UK, AU)

Spontaneity and liberation burst into your relationships, finances, resources and pleasures. You might feel compelled to try something completely different that shakes up the "same-old-same-old" routines you're used to. The upside is that you have the opportunity to break free of some old habits and breathe some fresh air into your life. But the downside could come in the form of impulse spending beyond your budget, or recklessness in your interactions and relationships. Strive to break free of what holds you back from being your true self, without destroying the structure of order in your life.   

Aug.22 � Sun enters Virgo (until Sep.22) (Aug.23 in UK, AU)

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.   

Aug.23 � Sun trine Pluto (00:45 of Virgo/Capricorn) (Aug.24 in AU)

Your sense of purpose is strong now, as you are able to tap into a deeper level of energy and determination. Your personality is likely to be more forceful now, which can be great if you need to make a strong impression but perhaps not so much in situations requiring delicacy or subtlety. Your ability to see below the surface of things is especially clear, and it may be possible to unearth secrets or get at the core of unconscious patterns (yours or others'). This is a time when your personal presence may come across as somewhat "larger than life," so you need to remember that a little goes a long way during this transit. This could be a time when you suddenly find the strength to stand up and assert your personal power in a situation that has felt overwhelming or discouraging. On the other hand, if you are still struggling to learn how to own your power, without using nuclear bombs to make your point, you may still feel a bit overwhelmed or daunted by this transit. In that case, take smaller steps and don't try to push the river.   

Aug.25 � Mars enters Cancer (until Oct.16) (Aug.26 in AU)

The fiery energy of Mars is poured through the sensitive, emotional waters of Cancer. This is not the easiest placement for Mars, since its sharp edge becomes somewhat softened and diluted. However, this is also a time when it is possible to use your assertive and proactive energy for the protection of yourself or others. This is like the mother bear that can become extremely fierce when protecting her young, and in the same way you have an abundance of energy to defend your "children" � literally or figuratively, in the sense of creative projects, loved ones, your Inner Child, or your home "nest." This is also a time when deep emotional issues may erupt to the surface, like buried anger, repressed frustration or unconscious fear. The focus of your feelings may be a little unstable and moody, but it also gives you an opportunity to nurture, vent and express those feelings. Observe how you respond to any deep feelings that emerge, either in yourself or in others. Does your Inner Parent try to repress or scold that Inner Child, or are you able to respond lovingly, caringly and sensitively? This is a learning experience that can teach you how to nurture yourself ...and others.   

Aug.25 � Mercury enters Libra (until Sep.17)

Mercury glides into Libra, bringing awareness and new ideas about your style of interaction and how you communicate with others. It may be easier to speak (and listen) with gentleness, fairness and diplomacy during this time. Thoughts, ideas, communication and negotiation could reach a state of increased balance and harmony, and you may be especially sensitive to other people and your environment. You could be more motivated to balance criticism or anger with gentleness and diplomacy. On the other hand, interaction could also become a carefully crafted game in which truth, honesty and facts are replaced by manipulative strategy and "white lies" designed to avoid hurt feelings. Indecision and "fence sitting" are possible under this transit, since you are able than usual to see many different sides of a situation. It might help to bounce your ideas and thoughts off someone who can be a good sounding board and give you feedback. It may be easier now to reach a win-win solution to conflicts, which is fair to all concerned � but be careful you don't make incorrect or self-serving assumptions about what the other side wants.

Mercury will go retrograde while in Libra, on Sep.07, then dip back into Virgo again until Oct.09 when it re-enters Libra again.   

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Aug.25 � Mercury square Mars (00:17 of Libra/Cancer) (Aug.26 in UK, AU)

Fiery speech, argument and hot debate characterise this transit. This could come in the form of conflict, or it might be stimulating and challenging � or both! One thing to watch out for is that you may have a short fuse for a temper, and the same may be true for others around you. It can be a time when you blurt out things you later regret, or you might finally find the courage to do something that's long overdue. The problem is that one can easily look like the other, and what feels like courage in the moment might look more like reckless haste in retrospect. Harsh words can't always be taken back, so keep a grip on your objectivity and better judgment while you're verbally fighting the dragons. Use this energy to stoke your motivational fires, and use your ideas to generate positive action. It can help to pace your mental energy like racing a horse, which can harness abundant energy to fuel your decisions, courage and resolve.

This is the first of three passes: Aug.25, Sep.03, Nov.01   

Aug.26 � Venus opposite North Lunar Node (29:42 of Cancer/Capricorn)

This is a good time to let go of the "things" you don't need anymore. It's a time to release your creativity and transform them into new resources and assets. This could mean cleaning out your closets and selling the discards in a yard sale, for example. You might decide to change your hair style or something else about your appearance. Perhaps you discover that you're making a different impression on people than you intended, and this leads to a revision of your social skills. Or you could get feedback from someone close to you that challenges you to change your self-image. Something (or someone) that has been prominent in your life � in relationships, pleasure, partnerships, finances, possessions, beauty or appearance � is ready to be let go. You might need to say good-bye to someone you've been close to because the relationship isn't working anymore � or you might find you're able to let go of feelings that have been blocked and give yourself to a connection with someone. You might simply assimilate it into the background where it is no longer "front and centre," or you might need to cut ties altogether. Or, you could be ready to express something that has been brewing for a while, like creative self-expression or giving someone feedback. "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" (as our grandmothers used to say), but be on the lookout for something that is ready to subside from your priority list.   

Aug.26 � Mercury square Pluto (00:43 of Libra/Capricorn) (Aug.27 in AU)

You are faced now with a challenge to empower your communication and perceptions, although this may not come easily. It could involve having to face some rather difficult truths that might be a bit disturbing or hard to accept. However in doing so, you gain a deeper understanding and acceptance of yourself, your situation and your role within it. Obsessive or persistent thoughts that are morbid or paranoid are possible, which could be helped by finding something more positive to focus on or a creative outlet. Communication (from others or yourself or both) could be intense, intimidating or even downright damaging, since it may be tempting to get caught up in power struggles and domination. But communication can also be used now to heal, by cutting through hypocrisy and insincerity in order to reach a deeper authenticity and truth � like lancing a boil so that healing can take place.

Due to Mercury going retrograde on Sep.07, this is the first of three passes: Aug.26, Sep.17 and Oct.10.   

Aug.26 � Venus enters Leo (until Sep.20) (Aug.27 in AU)

This can be a very creative time, as Venus' love of beauty combines with Leo's creative flair for the dramatic. Find ways to feel good by making your surroundings and yourself beautiful and reflective of your inner spirit! High fashion and vogue style are "in," and crudeness and ordinariness are out...unless you want to turn them into a fashion statement. ;-) However, it's probably wise not to become so identified with the outer appearance of yourself or others that you lose sight of the person, situation or context that it's all happening in. The aim is to pamper yourself with pleasures that enhance your quality of life, without inflating your ego with synthetic self-esteem and glamour without substance. Relationships, interaction, finances, values and resources all need to include ways to express your identity, valour and "heart." Some light-hearted fun and play can be a good place to start.   

Aug.26 � Mars opposite Pluto (00:43 of Cancer/Capricorn) (Aug.27 in AU)

Mars and Pluto doing battle in the skies can create a very intense showdown! This is a time when tempers can flare, power struggles can emerge, and aggressive action could seem like the only way to handle a conflict. If you feel yourself becoming entangled in a mounting tension with someone, you might do well to back off a bit to let the adrenaline subside on both sides. On the other hand, it is a time when we are often challenged to assert ourselves and strengthen our spirit, which can often be brought on by confrontation. This is the kind of atmosphere where our interactions with others can bring out deeply hidden and intense feelings inside us, which long to be expressed but are usually suppressed instead. This is an opportunity to observe what gets triggered inside of us and what kind of interaction triggers those feelings. It can be valuable to use the experience as a way to vent old frustration, work through unresolved anger, and ultimately heal our deeper wounds by letting go of whatever holds us back. Sexual energy can run very high under this transit, so handle it wisely.   

Aug.30-Sep.11 � Arrowhead aspect pattern

Arrowhead aspect pattern

This aspect figure can bring difficulty in expressing your dreams, aspirations and potential because your thoughts, ideas and awareness are in conflict with your anger, assertiveness and actions. Argument, disagreement and conflicts of interest could interrupt the flow of harmony and healing that you are striving to achieve. Conflicts or the need for problem-solving could arise from seemingly minor or insignificant points, and it may be more the principle or implications of what you're disagreeing about that are the deeper problem.

This aspect figure involves the Mercury-Mars square as it travels through the early degrees of Libra and Cancer. These planets form a sesquiquadrate (135� or "a square and a half" so to speak) to the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction in Aquarius. Normally the Arrowhead doesn't last very long but in this case it moves through all 3 planets in Aquarius, which lengthens its shelf life.

In addition, Mercury is slowing down and goes retrograde on Sep.07 and stretches out the life of this aspect pattern that way too. Since Mercury turns retrograde at the end of this pattern's lifespan, it wouldn't be surprising for conflicts or problem-solving to lead to a more serious need for renegotiation or a need to rethink the whole premise of the problem throughout September.

At its best, this aspect figure can lead you to fine-tune your plans and point of view so that you see things more clearly. This energy could also be used constructively through writing and other forms of communication that require you to take a broad, philosophical or spiritual look at life. Take the disagreements and turn them into a stimulating debate that expands everyone's understanding of the principles and concepts involved.   

Sep.03 � Mercury square Mars (05:37 of Libra/Cancer) (Sep.04 in AU)

Fiery speech, argument and hot debate characterise this transit. This could come in the form of conflict, or it might be stimulating and challenging -- or both! One thing to watch out for is that you may have a short fuse for a temper, and the same may be true for others around you. It can be a time when you blurt out things you later regret, or you might finally find the courage to do something that's long overdue. The problem is that one can easily look like the other, and what feels like courage in the moment might look more like reckless haste in retrospect. Harsh words can't always be taken back, so keep a grip on your objectivity and better judgment while you're verbally fighting the dragons. Use this energy to stoke your motivational fires, and use your ideas to generate positive action. It can help to pace your mental energy like racing a horse, which can harness abundant energy to fuel your decisions, courage and resolve.

This is the second of three passes of this transit: Aug.25, Sep.03 and Nov.01. However, Mercury is not yet retrograde, which would normally be the case for the second pass of this transit. Instead, Mercury is slowing down to turn retrograde (Sep.07), so it is Mars that forms the aspect to Mercury, rather than the usually-faster Mercury applying to Mars. Mars moves on as Mercury retraces its steps in retrograde motion throughout September. Mercury takes an unusually long time to catch up to square Mars again on Nov.01. Because of this, it's possible that disagreements, conflicts and problem-solving that arise during this time may not be entirely resolved until early November. Therefore, it may be wise to keep your reactions balanced, diplomatic, discreet and as patient as possible (which may not be an easy task under this energy), since you might be mulling over the issues for a while. You don't want to rethink your perspective only to have to eat your words 2 months down the road. Try not to burn any bridges or leave scorched earth behind you or make any impulsive decisions now that you can't undo or change down the road. If you really feel you need to make a break of things now and can't wait until November, it may be wise to err on the side of gentleness, sensitivity and flexibility.   

Sabian Symbol for Pisces 13: A sword in a museum

Sabian Symbol for the
Full Moon in Pisces

Pisces 13

A sword in a museum.

In Tarot cards, the suite of Swords usually represents the element of Air. Like the currently stationary Mercury, swords are the ideas, thoughts and words that can slice through the outer layers of an experience and cut to the heart of the matter.

And yet, the sword is a weapon of war and conflict, which is the territory of Mars. So this Sabian Symbol ("What's a Sabian Symbol?") echoes the Mercury-Mars square that is active at the Full Moon. Thoughts, ideas and words can be used either to wound or to clear away obstructions that stand in the way of the truth.

A museum is a place where we put things of value and meaning on display, often from significant events in the past. This is a place of honour, preservation or commemoration. It suggests that how we use that sword will be remembered, and we may even become known by what we achieve with it�good or bad.

A sword in a museum also implies past battles. This could be a time when the memory of certain past conflicts hover in your awareness. The "sword" might be your own or that of an adversary, meaning you might be a bit haunted by your own victories�or your defeats.

This symbol also suggests that if you're looking for inspiration or insight about how to solve a current problem, you might find a hint about the answer in your past experience. Perhaps you've already been down this road before in some form, and you can draw from your accomplishments or your mistakes from the past.


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

An Astrological Mandala,
by Dane Rudhyar

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

The Sabian Symbols in Astrology,
by Marc Edmund Jones

Sep.04 � FULL MOON in PISCES (12:15 of Pisces)


Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Sep.04, 12:03 PM EDT

London, UK:

Sep.04, 5:03 PM BST

Sydney, AU:

Sep.05, 2:03 AM AEST

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

This Full Moon is both stressful and dynamic! We have the remnants of the recent Grand Cross still lingering, although by now it's more like two T-squares (more on that later). Most of the aspects happening right now are oppositions (180°), squares (90°) and sesqui-quadrates (135°), all of which hinge on conflict, stress and tension, as well as the motivation and energy that are generated from friction. On top of this, Mercury is virtually stationary, getting ready to turn retrograde in 3 days, and therefore starting to turn everyday matters on their heads (more on that too).

What's a tender, gentle Pisces Moon to do?

Well for starters, the Pisces Full Moon is polarized with the Virgo Sun. From this we have a divide between what is specific (Virgo) and what is ambiguous (Pisces); between the practical application of self-made concrete solutions and the idealization of faith and trust. With stationary Mercury ruling the Sun's sign of Virgo, those concrete solutions aren't likely to go as smoothly or efficiently as Virgo would like. That leaves us having to rely more on faith in the Universe's ability to provide the support that we need, although with Mercury about to retrograde this is likely to be a bit scattered and unpredictable. That's when our faith is tested.

Pisces is ultimately about our connection to spiritual Source, whether you see that as luck or universal energy or God(s) or the Cosmic Muffin. Everyone believes in something. Even an atheist typically believes in physics and the dependability of logic and reason. Sagittarius is similar to this but has more to do with belief systems, religious traditions and the application of principles in our lives. Pisces is about the spiritual wellspring from which those beliefs and principles come.

It is what you imagine to be the Source of all existence. I say "imagine" because no matter how certain you may be about what that is, your way of perceiving it and understanding it may not be literally accurate. Your perception of that Source is likely to be filtered through knowledge and experiences that are understandable to you; yet that same Source comes to someone else in a different culture, for example, through a different filter of knowledge and experiences�but it's the same Source. As the Tao Te Ching says, "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao."

So, what do you imagine about the Universe? How do you experience your personal connection to All That Is?

These are important questions, especially this year. The Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction is challenging all of us to reach inside ourselves to discover a deeper level of connection to the Universe. Jupiter and Neptune are the traditional and modern planetary rulers of Pisces, so this Full Moon is acting as a powerful channel for this long-term spiritual quest.

Is your faith being put to the test right now? There are many theories about how to deal with this kind of situation. Some people put their faith in a Higher Power and trust that their needs will be provided for. Faith is a key ingredient in this recipe. The challenge is to settle into a position of patience when you feel like you're drumming your fingers waiting for the Universe to get around to you � otherwise known as "God grant me patience, but hurry!"

Another approach is summed up as "you create your own reality." In other words, whatever you focus on, that's what you'll get. It provides a hopeful solution to a crisis of faith � if you don't like your reality, you can change it by focusing on something else. The problem with this is that sometimes it's hard to believe in something better when you're busy trying to deal with the reality you don't want. Or, as it was once phrased: "When you're up to your ass in alligators, it's difficult to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp."

The test of this kind of faith becomes a question of: how do you shift your focus and still deal with the reality in front of you? Each person's answer to this will be a bit different. You can try meditation as a way to unlock your mindset from its focus on the problematic reality, thus making room for something new to come in. Sometimes just taking a walk or doing something different for a while can achieve the same effect.

Getting away from your usual experience of something has Mercury retrograde written all over it. Mercury goes retrograde from Sep.07-29�and believe me, we're in the gravity of it now! Mercury starts off this cycle in Libra, the sign of relationships, love and beautification. Finding a loved one to "take you away from it all" could be a valuable resource right now. Or, you might decide to redecorate the tree house or other tranquil places of seclusion and respite. Or, in the case of having to make a particularly difficult decision, you might discover that indecision is your best friend right now and put off decisions entirely until October when Mercury is direct. (Just be prepared to live with the problem in the meantime, if you can.)

T-square: Mars opposite Pluto, square Mercury

Making decisions and negotiating resolutions to problems is complicated right now by the Mars-Pluto-Mercury T-square, which is a remnant from the Grand Cross that dominated our skies during the last part of August. A lot of people reported low physical and mental energy during that time, which can probably be blamed on Mars. Thankfully this is gradually dissipating, although we're not out of the woods yet, so keep getting plenty of sleep and rest and eat your veggies. ;-) If your physical energy is seriously low, consider checking with your doctor for conditions like low iron.

Part of this lingering T-square is the Mercury-Mars square (90�). It is now separating (exact just a day ago, Sep.03) but with Mercury being stationary during this transit, its conflict energy is likely to be skulking in the background during the retrograde cycle. It's best to be diplomatic now in any conflicts or disagreements, so that you don't have to deal with the indigestion later from eating your words.

We also have the Mercury-Pluto square which remains in orb as Mercury stations retrograde and gives us 3 passes (Aug.26, Sep.17 and Oct.10). We effectively have a very intense Mercury-Pluto square for about 3 weeks from late August to mid-September. This strongly underscores the need to be diplomatic and to think before you speak. At its worst, Mercury square Pluto can be vindictive, cruel, jealous and prone to seeing conspiracies lurking in every shadow (whether they're really there or not). It could make it easier to give a voice to deep-seated rage. It could also lock that rage deep inside where it simmers as if in a pressure cooker, until it blows like a volcano, so it's very important to have a safe place to vent your feelings, anger and impulses. A private personal journal can be extremely helpful during this kind of energy, since you can write whatever you need to without anyone else seeing it.

On the other hand, Mercury-Pluto can also bring penetrating insight, as well as the ability to identify, address and work through difficult issues. You might not like what you see at first, but you will find gems of wisdom hidden inside it. It could even be a time of significant breakthrough in your personal transformation and growth, especially if you have a good therapist, counsellor or spiritual advisor to work with.   

T-square: Saturn opposite Uranus, square Pluto

The other remnant of the Grand Cross is the wide but growing Saturn-Uranus-Pluto T-square. This won't reach its peak until 2010 but we are starting to feel its energy now through the mounting tensions related to the global economic crisis and the growing frustration and cynicism about how to fix it. There is a social revolution building that seems, at least in part, to be focusing on the polarization between "conservative" (Saturn) and "liberal" (Uranus) approaches to our world's problems. Expect to see a lot more of this over the next several years, as we wrestle with how to carry out necessary changes on many levels with minimal destruction of the underlying fabric that supports what has already been developed.

The Mercury-Mars square continues to form an Arrowhead aspect pattern pointing at Jupiter and Chiron (and Neptune seeps into the energy through the multiple conjunction), which is in orb Aug.30-Sep.11. This pattern echoes the challenge of focusing on the swamp when you're up to your ass in alligators. At its worst, this figure could bring out the impulse to clobber someone over the head with (what you believe is) "The Truth" during an argument and risk causing lasting damage to your relationship with them. However, at its best it suggests that by keeping your gaze fixed on the healing power of faith in the bigger picture, it can guide you to "take the high road" in disagreements with others. Whether this involves growing some patience (and short-circuiting your temptation to snap at the person) or foregoing the conflict altogether by choosing your battles, it may be wisest to let your higher principles guide you.

If you feel yourself tipping back and forth between your hastier impulses and your broader perspective, don't be hard on yourself. The planets are facing off in a "see-saw" pattern (meaning some are on one side of the zodiac and the rest are on the other side). This can give you a kind of swinging pendulum effect. The best way to deal with this is to go with it, but use each extreme as an opportunity to expand your awareness by seeing both the pros and cons of each side. Eventually you will be able to stretch your "peripheral vision" to embrace both sides and bridge the gap.

If you need some extra encouragement right now, seek out the support of a counsellor, mentor or spiritual advisor. A personal astrology reading is great for this because it can reconnect you with your strength and a vision for the future. If you're seriously stuck in depression, despair or hopelessness, don't be afraid to seek out professional help � there's no shame in needing extra support during hard times.

Paradoxically, one of the best ways to pull yourself out of the doldrums is to find someone else that you can give some support to. Pisces is big on providing compassionate help to others, and the best part is that you get to keep some of that energy that you provide to others. It may or may not be a permanent solution for you, but it can at least break the habit of pessimism which is definitely worth the effort!   

Sep.07 � Mercury stationary Retrograde (06:13 of Libra; until Feb.01) ("What's a Station?"  Read article about Stations.  Read article about Mercury Retrograde.)

Mercury now goes retrograde for the next 3+ weeks. For up to a week before and after today, Mercury is moving very slowly or stopped during the 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 best 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; for example, it's common to have to reschedule appointments. Do some things that use your intuitive, creative, non-rational mind for a while until Mercury goes direct again.

Mercury is retrograde in Libra, which can lead you to reconsider choices you thought you had already made. Agreements with others (especially those close to you) might need to be renegotiated or adjusted. It may become important to discuss issues with your partner or spouse that have been lurking in the background but now become foremost in your mind. It might be difficult to know how to be diplomatic, sensitive or gentle in your style of communication. For example, which is kinder -- to say something difficult and risk hurting the person, or to avoid saying it and risk telling a "lie of omission" and damaging their trust? You may be faced with these kinds of choices that have no clear answer, yet you must decide which path to take. You might find you can listen better under this transit, yet you could find it difficult to verbalize or give feedback about what you hear. At its worst, indecision could become paralyzing, as each choice seems to create more problems than it solves. It might seem like you can only "pick your poison" and deal with the consequences. It's probably wise to wait until well after Mercury has gone direct before you make any important decisions, in this case. If that's not possible, it may help to talk to someone you feel comfortable with who is good at simplifying and organising things.   

Sep.11 � Venus opposite Jupiter (18:46 of Leo/Aquarius)

This is a time when your desire for pleasure is wide open. Sexual desire could reach out using seduction. Desire for delightful tastes could become overindulgence in foods that may not be in the best interest of your health (e.g., sweets, alcohol, etc.). Spending can be impulsive and easily grow beyond your budget. Money-making opportunities could spill over into workaholic obsession. It might feel like nothing is "enough" and you feel compelled to continually reach out for more and more -- a bottomless well of desire. On the other hand, this energy can also bring out your natural beauty and charm in social situations if you are shy or inhibited. If you've done your research and your comparative shopping, this could be the time you make a big purchase. Or you might find the feeling is right to make your move with a love interest and expand your intimate connection with that person. Or perhaps you feel generous and decide to donate your money or talents to a cause that reaches for a higher purpose. Enjoy, but don't blow your budget.   

Sep.11 � Pluto stationary Direct (00:39 of Capricorn) (Sep.12 in AU) ("What's a Station?"  Read article about Stations.)

For about a week before and after, you may experience energy that is intense, compelling and transformative, as Pluto changes direction to its normal forward motion. If you've been going through deep, cathartic changes in your life over the last 6 months to a year, you may find that this station brings a shift in how you are able to approach those changes. This might be a time when you feel the weight of power struggles or loss in your life, but it can also be a time when you find empowering strength in yourself that you didn't know you had. Above all, it is a time when your deepest, most authentic Self can start to emerge and be reborn anew..   

Sep.14 � Venus opposite Chiron (22:17 of Leo/Aquarius)

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.   

Sep.14-18 � Irritation Rectangle aspect pattern

Irritation Rectangle aspect pattern

This is a subtle yet intense aspect pattern, named by Bruno and Louise Huber and discussed in their book Aspect Pattern Astrology. It is composed of the Saturn-Uranus opposition and Venus opposed Neptune/Chiron, with all corners joined by semi-sextiles (30�) and quincunxes (150�). The semi-sextile and quincunx aspects tend to generate irritation, agitation and experiences of paradox, and therefore also a quest to gain greater awareness and understanding. The criss-crossing oppositions hold tension and conflict that often indicate the source of the irritation.

In this case, this includes the Saturn-Uranus opposition, which can raise issues of responsibility versus freedom, conservatism versus liberalism, obligation versus adventure, or logic versus intuition. It also involves Venus opposite Neptune and Chiron, which points to questions about dreams versus illusions in love, what you dream about versus what you have, and whether your self-image is a reflection of true self-acceptance or insecure imagination.

The Irritation Rectangle is likely to be most powerful on Sep.16 when all participating planets are at 24�. In addition, the Moon conjoins Venus and the Sun conjoins Saturn on the same day, injecting extra energy into this complex pattern. Expect increased emotional sensitivity (for example, empathy or psychic senses) combined with decisions or obligations that require you to be responsible and productive.   

Sep.15 � Saturn opposite Uranus (24:42 of Virgo/Pisces)

Responsibility and common sense face off against revolution and vision under this transit. These energies mix together like fireworks inside a small room! The fact that they're in an opposition aspect (180�) only amplifies their differences. However, you can get them to complement each other provided you don't get locked into thinking that one must win out over the other. It's tempting to get stuck in one extreme or the other, thinking that it's a contest about which is the "better" planet/approach/candidate/path. At their worst, they can create a war between the past and the future, between rigid conformity and chaotic rebellion, or between needing others' approval to feel good about yourself versus being so independent that you can't allow yourself to connect with others.


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At best, this is about negotiating a cooperative balance between these extremes. Saturn contributes stability and caution, which provides balance with the flexibility and foresight of Uranus. When these two energies work together well, they can produce lasting change that opens up old structures and allows room for future growth. Uranus inspires you to open yourself to your best unique potential, while Saturn provides a solid foundation on which to express it.

Saturn and Uranus come into opposition about every 46 years. So for many of my viewers, either you weren't alive when it happened last (in 1965-67) or you might not remember it very well. The last opposition took place in the tumultuous 60s, when the radical youth faced off against the aging "establishment." It also combined with the infamous Uranus-Pluto conjunction which also fuelled the dramatic changes that began in the 60s. Over the next few years we are approaching the square aspect between Uranus and Pluto, which indicates a major turning point in the processes that began with the conjunction. The Saturn-Uranus opposition is the prelude and perhaps the facilitator of that turning point.

The dramatic disruptions and changes we are seeing now�economically, socially, politically and ecologically�are the early rumblings of long-term change. This will unfold both collectively and individually over the next 2 years. Trying to control or hold it back (Saturn) will only amplify the reactionary result (Uranus). On the other hand, just giving up and letting the chaos run wild (Uranus) will only send us crashing headlong into reality and harsh consequences (Saturn). Both sides must have a say in what happens.

This is the third of 5 passes: Nov.04.2008, Feb.05.2009, Sep.15.2009, Apr.26.2010 and Jul.26.2010. It is likely to affect you most if you have any planets or points in your natal chart between 19-29 degrees, particularly in the Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces). This is a partial resolution point in this long process. More important, it is the beginning of the powerful T-square aspect pattern that will reach its closest in 2010. This T-square takes us one more step into a 10-year turning point in the powerful process of transformation that began in the 1960s. There will be more about this T-square in the months to come. For now, you can learn more about how the Saturn-Uranus opposition (and the coming T-square) is facilitating change in your life by booking a personal astrology reading with me.   

Sep.15 � Venus opposite Neptune (24:19 of Leo/Aquarius) (Sep.16 in AU)

Romance, idealism, fantasy and imagination are blossoming into a bright aura right now, which is likely to influence your relationships, interactions, finances and values -- for better or for worse! Compassion, caring and selfless giving can be good ideals to aim for, as long as you remember that ideals tend to lose some of their shiny glow when they're translated into hard reality. If you forget this, the end result may be disappointing or disillusioning. Disappointment may also indicate that there have been hidden hopes or high expectations that no one can really live up to. Aim to balance your innocence and longing with the judgement of your older, wiser, mature self; and do a reality check with a trusted friend or adviser if in doubt. That said, this can also be a very creative and inspiring time -- just remember to keep one foot on the ground.   

Sep.17 � Sun opposite Uranus (24:38 of Virgo/Pisces)

This transit brings an encounter with the Awakener! This could come in the form of another person or outside situation that shakes you out of your habitual routine and pushes you to try a new approach to your situation. Life may be very unpredictable right now, requiring you to be spontaneous, innovative or independent in the way you respond to it. This could be stressful or exciting! It is actually showing you a new path in the darkness, like a lightening flash in the night. If you feel startled or caught off guard, or confused about what to do next, find your internal centre and try to be open to what the situation is illuminating for you. You now have a chance to shed some old habits and ways that you are stuck, if you can stay centered in the middle of the whirlwind. You may experience revelations -- that "ah-ha!!" feeling -- which could open up new possibilities and opportunities for you. However, it might feel like you have little choice but to try these new things (rather than freely choosing them). You could find yourself reacting to others with a powerful impulse to throw off the shackles of anything that feels restrictive, to reclaim your independence -- although this could also be motivated by a fear of commitment or responsibility too. It is wise to check your own inner motives, feelings and assumptions before automatically dismissing, rejecting or rebelling against other people.   

Sep.17 � Mercury retrograde square Pluto (00:40 of Libra/Capricorn)

You are faced now with a challenge to empower your communication and perceptions, although this may not come easily. It could involve having to face some rather difficult truths that might be a bit disturbing or hard to accept. However in doing so, you gain a deeper understanding and acceptance of yourself, your situation and your role within it. Obsessive or persistent thoughts that are morbid or paranoid are possible, which could be helped by finding something more positive to focus on or a creative outlet. Communication (from others or yourself or both) could be intense, intimidating or even downright damaging, since it may be tempting to get caught up in power struggles and domination. But communication can also be used now to heal, by cutting through hypocrisy and insincerity in order to reach a deeper authenticity and truth -- like lancing a boil so that healing can take place.

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This is the retrograde pass, which means the situations that happened during the first pass (Aug.26) could repeat in some form. This might happen literally, where there is unfinished business that must be dealt with. Or the same themes might repeat in a different form, where the same dynamic emerges in another situation. Obsessive thoughts may be especially persistent now, and it will help to find a more positive focus or a creative outlet. Communication is likely to be the primary vehicle for this, possibly in terms of argument or intimidation. Your perception of the issues involved could also change dramatically now, so that you are seeing hidden elements that you missed the first time around. If this has brought a healing journey, this can be a time when you must dig deep into the toxic issues to clean out old attitudes, interactions or perceptions that need to be let go. It is important to keep looking inward to what is being triggered in yourself, so that you don't wind up getting stuck in "blame mode" or "paranoid mode." What you're seeing (in the situation, the other person or yourself) might be difficult to accept, but by keeping your eyes open you can see where it is possible to make changes.   

Sep.17 � Sun conjunct Saturn (24:59 of Virgo) (Sep.18 in AU)

For a few days before and after this date, you may feel serious, studious, stuck, blocked, committed and/or hard working. It could be a good time to manifest well prepared plans, or you might have to get real and deal with difficult realities in new ways. You may have business with authority figures, or you might be called upon to act in a leadership role. It can also be a time to own your own authority -- that is, to BE the authority figure, either to someone else or just to yourself. It might be a time of decision, when you have to choose one path or option over another. This can feel like an ending, as much as it is a new beginning, because selecting one possibility means you must let go of the other possibilities (at least for now). This is a necessary part of the process of manifestation and maturity. Doing closure on the people and situations that are passing out of your life will help to complete the process of growth and learning they have brought into your life, and can help clear the space for something new to begin growing in their place.   

Sep.17 � Mercury retrograde enters Virgo (until Oct.09) (Sep.18 in UK, AU)

Mercury is retrograde in Virgo, which is likely to affect how you work with analysis and organisation of ideas and information. On one hand, you might get so bogged down in the details that analysis and organisation become too fragmented (or too "anal") to be effective or productive. On the other hand, you might find it easier to get at the detailed level of things so that you can explore your situation in more depth. Those details are probably best organised later into a cohesive whole, rather than trying to take in the bigger picture now. You might find yourself having to be of service in some way that is not usual for you. For example, you might feel compelled to help someone when you'd rather not. Or you might see someone's situation from a different perspective, leading you to want to do something to help when you had decided not to in the past. You may need to rethink your health strategy during this transit, especially if old health problems come back to haunt. Or this can be a good time to really sit down and get real with yourself about health issues you've been putting off dealing with. In this sense, you are called on to be of service to yourself too.   

Next Update:  NEW MOON in VIRGO - September 18, 2009 (Sep.19 in AU). Available by Sep.18.

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