The Low-Down on the Far-Out

Solar Eclipse in Leo, August 2017

Chart for the Solar Eclipse - New Moon in Leo
Chart for the Solar Eclipse ~ New Moon in Leo

In secret we carry
A vision of grace thru a prism of light
On the wings of a dance
we're moving thru' the moonlight...
I saw your shadow, you were
dancing at the Feet of the Moon
~ The Parachute Club, At the Feet of the Moon

Aug.21 – SOLAR ECLIPSE ~ NEW MOON in LEO (28:52 of Leo)

Finding Luminescence in the Shadow of the Moon

Well, by now you're either completely eclipsed out or you still can't get enough of it. There's an awful lot of excitement—and hype—going around about this one. This is especially so in the United States, where the path of totality remarkably cuts a swath from coast to coast, east to west. As a result, many in the US have dubbed this "The Great American Eclipse." (The rest of us wonder if this means we'll now be naming eclipses after the countries they intersect... ;-)

A lot of what is being written about this Solar Eclipse in Leo has an American focus. I want to present something a little more generic and down-to-earth that is hopefully meaningful and useful for everyone, regardless where you're located. We'll talk about the physical eclipse first and then the eclipse chart.

Love makes you see a place differently, just as you hold differently an object that belongs to someone you love. If you know one landscape well, you will look at all other landscapes differently. And if you learn to love one place, sometimes you can also learn to love another.
~ Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces

Where Can It Be Seen?

The total eclipse is best viewed when you're positioned well inside the Moon's shadow as it crosses from west to east through the United States. Most people have seen the long line of totality drawn on maps of the US. However, a partial view of the eclipse (the Moon doesn't cover the entire Sun's disc) extends far north and south of the shadow's travel line.

Partial solar eclipse
Partial Solar Eclipse, 20 March 2015, viewed from the United Kingdom

The total eclipse shadow begins way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, almost 2500 miles (4000 km) west of the US coast (visible just as the Sun is rising there). After the shadow finishes crossing the US, it can still be seen almost as far as the western bulge of Africa, just south of Cape Verde, roughly 3700 miles (6000 km) beyond the US east coast (visible just as their Sun is setting).

Of course, with so much of the shadow being cast over open waters, there's an awful lot of distance where no one will actually see it—unless you're lucky enough to be on a special eclipse cruise!

Weather willing, the eclipse will be most visible along the line in the map below, across the US mainland. A partial eclipse will also be visible throughout the rest of the US and most of Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and the northern coastline of South America. Even the northeastern tip of Russia and western Europe and Africa may be able to see a bit of it.

Viewing area for Solar Eclipse in Leo
Line of eclipse totality and areas where partial eclipse can be seen

You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.
~ Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon

What to Expect?

If you've never seen a Total Solar Eclipse, before, it's hard to imagine what you'll see. If you're looking at it from the right place and time, you'll be standing in the shadow of the Moon as it slowly moves across the disc of the Sun. Daytime will darken to something resembling nighttime, if you're right inside that shadow area.

If you're outside of the shadow but still within the visible area (see the map, above), the Sun will only be partly covered at the maximum eclipse. Daylight will dim to some extent, depending on how much of the Sun is blocked by the Moon, and may look more like twilight or when the sky has a very dark cloud cover.

Whether you're in the totality line or outside of it, the Moon passes over the face of the Sun gradually, lasting a few hours.

Total Solar Eclipse with Sun's Corona
Composite image by Fred Espenak showing solar corona at eclipse totality

Of you're right inside the shadow at the maximum eclipse (which only lasts a couple of minutes at the most), there are some special effects you may witness. One of these is where the corona of the Sun suddenly radiates out from the Moon's silhouette. It can be quite the light show! You may also see different shapes of light peeking out at the edges of the Moon (Bailey's Beads, Diamond Ring), and even some stars in the sky.

It can be quite an eerie experience to witness a solar eclipse first-hand. I watched the Annular Solar Eclipse here in Toronto in May 1994, and I had a powerful, visceral reaction as I saw daytime turn unnaturally dark. Birds and animals were suddenly confused, switching to their twilight/nighttime behaviour and wondering how the end of the day had snuck up on them unawares.

I could really understand how our ancestors might have felt the world was coming to an end! The world is suddenly spooky and unfamiliar, as daylight dims or disappears. The Sun looks like it's being eaten by a dragon, demon, dog or bear, according to various mythologies. Our dependence on the Sun for light, warmth and energy makes this phenomenon pretty impossible to dismiss, and the experience can hit us in our primal gut.

On top of that, some people's vision has been damaged—temporarily or permanently—from directly watching a solar eclipse, which is a pretty harsh punishment for answering the human instincts of curiosity, fascination, alarm and astonishment.

SPECIAL SIDE NOTE: It is said to be okay to look directly at the eclipse BUT ONLY when the Moon is COMPLETELY covering the Sun. If there is even a small amount of the Sun showing, staring at it could still do some serious damage to your eyes.

Do you know what it feels like to be aware of every star, every blade of grass? Yes. You do. You call it 'opening your eyes again.' But you do it for a moment.
~ Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

The Solar Eclipse Chart

I have to say: every time I start to wonder if we astrologers might be exaggerating the effects of celestial events, an eclipse like this one comes along to demonstrate that there really is something to this stuff.

Granted, in recent months (years!) life on our planet has been increasingly saturated with upset, agitation and turmoil, but the few weeks leading up to this eclipse seem to have been more stressful than usual. Maybe the excitement and hype over the eclipse has amplified the already high-pitched energy, and maybe it's the usual intensity that happens around and between the eclipses. Whatever the reason, it's hard not to feel overwhelmed sometimes. Do simplify your life and give yourself the space, support and care you need to not get worn out.

Given the powerful experiences and mythological mystique surrounding Solar Eclipses, it's not surprising that astrology and cultural tradition tend to see them as harbingers of doom, gloom and destructive events. And indeed, the energy during eclipse season does tend to be heavy, intense or amplified. Even in our modern world of electric lights, smartphones and scientific minimalism, eclipses have not lost their air of mystery and trepidation.

So, let's look at the eclipse chart and try to bring it down to earth so that we can work constructively and intentionally with its energy, starting with the aspects.

The absolute closest aspect is, of course, the conjunction between the Sun and Moon, which is the definition of a New Moon. However, this is also a Solar Eclipse, which means the Sun and Moon are also parallel and this greatly amplifies the conjunction energy. This is a New Moon with an attitude!

This Solar Eclipse is the second New Moon in Leo in a row. We had the other Leo New Moon on July 23, when we had an explosion of Fire energy! This time, although there is still plenty of Fire energy, it's a little more balanced. This second New Moon, being at the end of the sign, is a more mature, experienced, seasoned Leo energy. Think of this as Return of the Lion King!

Every man is more than just himself; he also represents the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world's phenomena intersect, only once in this way, and never again. That is why every man's story is important, eternal, sacred; that is why every man, as long as he lives and fulfills the will of nature, is wondrous, and worthy of consideration
~ Hermann Hesse, Demian. Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend

Visions In The Dark

Taking place in Leo, this feisty New Moon focuses on your use of vitality, leadership, loyalty, personality, creativity and self-expression. At its best, Leo can inspire the jubilant expression of your best qualities, along with a feel-good sense of self and wholehearted joy of living. In Leo is the celebration of life itself!

When these energies are not integrated effectively, honorably or authentically, this energy can become distorted by ego neediness, superiority or pretense. There can be a need to control people, circumstances and activities around you, so that they show you in your best light—usually as compensation for an underlying lack of confidence and self-esteem.

Solar Eclipse shadow on the Earth
Shadow of 1999 Solar Eclipse visible on the Earth

Most of us live somewhere in the middle, with occasional trips to those outer extremes. We have self-assurance and belief in ourselves enough to draw on when we're called on to "perform" for the world, whether that involves taking the lead in decision-making or putting out your best in a job interview or asking someone out on a date. We also sometimes have self-doubts, fears, and times when our willpower and courage seem lost somewhere at the back of our internal storage closet.

A Solar Eclipse in Leo can be interpreted and experienced in different ways. Like the physical phenomenon, the light of our internal, conscious Sun may be temporarily blocked by the emotional or subconscious presence of our internal Moon. On one hand, it can feel like we're lost in a twilight filled with dimming hope and a gloomy outlook on the future. The world may seem unfamiliar, murky or heavy, and instinctive survival reactions can be closer to the surface than usual.

On the other hand, like the Sun's corona and other effects that become magically visible at eclipse totality, we may get a glimpse of other possibilities, insights and awareness that are normally hidden or obscured. But be careful—in the same way that it's dangerous to stare at the solar eclipse when the Sun is still visible, it's probably wise not to get too mesmerized by what you perceive under its astrological rays either. The idea is to think about what you observe in that shadow and how you might apply and integrate this awareness into your normal state of consciousness.

Take action! An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intention.
~ Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

The Easy Stuff (Be Careful What You Wish For)

Beyond the Sun-Moon conjunction, the closest aspects in the chart are mostly "positive" or easy-flowing aspects: trines and sextiles (120° and 60°). These are often called "easy" aspects that generally enable the planets involved to interact cooperatively, creatively and fluently.

However, while you heave a sigh of relief that not all of this eclipse is heavy and difficult, remember that "easy" aspects can also facilitate the unimpeded flow of any energy between those planets—including disruptive or counterproductive—which may or may not be the best thing, depending on the situation. Too much of a good thing can be just as unwelcome as a lack of it.

Uranus trine the Solar Eclipse

Uranus trines the eclipse point (the Sun-Moon conjunction), which can be helpful when needing to break free of old baggage that is weighing you down or holding you back from taking another step in your evolution. On the down side, Uranus could also grease the staircase so that there's too much change, too fast. It may be best to navigate this energy as if you were thinking of running with scissors—pay attention and don't rush through it.

There's also an aspect pattern that I call a Mini-Trine, where Mars in Leo is trine Saturn in Sagittarius (120°) and Jupiter in Libra is sextile to them both (60°). This triangle figure carries great potential for creative problem-solving and formulating action on opportunities.

Mini-Trine aspect pattern

The Mini-Trine is also active just as Saturn is slowing down for the direct-station (Aug.25). This provides a gift of inspiration and motivation that could make this upcoming Saturn station feel like a positive turning point in a project or decision you're struggling with. But remember we're dealing with open-flowing aspects, so these planets in visionary Fire and Air signs might still want to take off before they're fully fueled with practical planning.

That's where stationary Saturn can actually help by keeping his corner of the triangle firmly anchored to the ground while Mars and Jupiter do their test flights. Although it might seem like his practical considerations have chained your hang-glider to the ground, that could be a sign that you should go through your checklist again to make sure you're fully prepared to launch. This is not a time to rush forward, but it can be a time to take the next careful step in the process.

A spider lives inside my head
Who weaves a strange and wondrous web
Of silken threads and silver strings
To catch all sorts of flying things,
Like crumbs of thoughts and bits of smiles
And specks of dried-up tears,
And dust of dreams that catch and cling
For years and years and years...
~ Shel Silverstein, Every Thing on It

Mercury Shenanigans

Just to keep life "interesting," Mercury decided to go retrograde in celebration of the eclipse (Aug.12 to Sep.05). Wasn't that nice of him? Most of us are familiar with Mercury retrograde and how to survive his quirky little minefield—I mean playground. Expect the usual mistakes, misunderstandings, missed appointments, rescheduled appointments, frustration making appointments, computer problems, etc. Now take a deep breath and repeat after me: "I won't let the little brat get me down (...for long)."

With Mercury doing his retrograde moonwalk now, it's helpful to just sit with your observations and impressions from the Solar Eclipse for a while and not rush into taking action. It's probably better to give your Inner Mercury the time it needs to weave thoughts, ideas, perceptions and intuition together, before you make a final decision on what to do about them or with them.

Mercury is super strong in Virgo right now, so analytical problem-solving could be the easiest way to approach problems and thorny situations. However, he's not strongly aspected, which suggests your ideas might be a bit difficult to put into practice or be acknowledged—which is kind of a definition of Mercury retrograde anyway, so, it's a bit of a double whammy.

Mercury opposes Neptune (180°), although the orb isn't super-tight (5°) and they are separating (moving away from each other). This aspect therefore might not be a distinct influence, and it's likely to blend quite seamlessly with the upside-down-inside-out retrograde effects.

On one hand, this could bring some wild dreams, ideas, psychic sparkles and intuitive awareness. However, with Trickster Mercury zigzagging through Neptune's haze, our mental reasoning could also take some twists and turns and deliver us to conclusions or assumptions that may not be sound.

However, it's still a good idea to pay attention to what you observe and notice during this retrograde, since he plays an important role in the unfolding of the eclipse energy. You could spot some flashes of insight not normally available to you, if you are willing to translate them into practical clarity.

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

September Instant Replay

In early September, Mercury comes back and conjoins the eclipse point, stationing right smack on it. ("What's a station?") In other words, when Mercury stations to go direct on Sep.05, he will be at the same degree as the solar eclipse (28° Leo). This is a Big Deal!

When Mercury becomes stationary, the energy is typically very concentrated but this time is even more-so. It will reactivate the eclipse energy for a week or more, starting around the end of August. Mercury being the planet of thought and mind, the rejuvenated eclipse is bound to fire up ideas, decisions, assumptions, perceptions and memories that were stirred up around and leading up to the eclipse. Also, Mercury being the planet of communication in the sign of self-expression (Leo), you could be seized by an urge to speak your mind about issues and events that were active around the eclipse.

So: what has changed in early September compared to when the eclipse was happening? Ideas and thoughts have been percolating in your mind for a couple of weeks, and you may then find you have a different viewpoint, or perhaps your initial intuitions have been confirmed. In addition, your enthusiasm, impatience, conviction, anger, motives and/or willpower could well be more crystalized and energized at that time, making it more difficult to stay quiet about things you feel passionately about.

Mercury, Mars cnj SE

As if this doesn't make our lives "interesting" enough, Mars steps into the mix. On Sep.03, Mars catches up to Mercury and the two collide right at the eclipse point, while Mercury is stationary. This is a Really Big Deal! This is one fiery powerhouse of planetary energies! And we are likely to feel its effects from around Aug.30 to Sep.07.

And there's one more transit during that time that bumps up the energy level even more – the Sun will conjoin the Mercury of the eclipse chart on Aug.31. In other words, while transiting Mercury and Mars are stirring up the eclipse energy, the Sun will be reviving the Mercury of the eclipse chart. (Remember Mercury opposite Neptune? Ya, that one.)

The Sun could increase the urge to make sense of your intuitive impressions and apply them in some way. For example, you may need to make a decision about something that surfaced around the eclipse. Or, you might feel compelled to give a voice to the perceptions and ideas from that time that are now starting to become clearer—or perhaps annoyingly murky to the point that you can't ignore them anymore.

Transits (T) to the Solar Eclipse point (28° Leo), other planets in the Solar Eclipse (SE) chart, and transiting planets:

People assume that repetition is always a static thing, but I beg to differ. Repetition is just as often the complete opposite of that: or a sign of rapid personal growth. In this repetition manifests one's ability to go on experiencing again the very same thing from a different perspective and in a brand-new light.
~ Criss Jami

Once More With Feeling!

All of this is an echo of the sonic boom that is unleashed at the solar eclipse, with the Sun, Mercury and Mars mirroring back the eclipse energy as they interact with its chart, particularly involving the now-sensitized point of the zodiac where the eclipse took place (28° Leo). If you have any planets or points in your natal chart close to that degree, you could be especially affected by these extra transits.

As a result, this is a time of powerful potential, when your energy focus and intentions may have an unusually strong impact. However, the experience is likely to feel more like you're riding a bucking bronco bareback than chanting OMs on a soft embroidered pillow.

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It's good to be as grounded and centered as possible, so that if/when you "shoot from the lip" you're not simply echoing the opinions, feelings and impulses of others around you. It's important to give yourself the chance to check in with your own thoughts to see if you truly agree or perhaps have a different perspective.

In the rip tide of this volatile combination of energies, it could be easy to get swept up in the energy of those around you. This can be especially tempting if you get encouraging feedback or "applause" from others by telling them what they want to hear.

However, used in a way that doesn't conflict with your personal integrity, conveying a heartfelt message aimed at those you need to hear it can be a powerful, positive energy. But if it's done mainly to boost your ego, it's bound to have a hollow sound for you and for others.

Being honest with yourself about what you really want and feel deep down will help avoid cluttering up your conscious intentions with contradictory ideas, feelings and other sabotaging baggage your efforts that could distort your aim. We all have conflicting thoughts and impulses—no one is 100% consistent—but the important thing is to be honest with yourself about them, and perhaps with others as well.

This is what integrity is—the ability to draw a line inside yourself that connects all of your dots, without trying to hide the ones that are inconvenient or that tell a contradictory story about who you are. Use this Solar Eclipse to illuminate the abandoned dots inside you and start to include them in the whole of who you are.

This is a long-term process. Whether you're at the beginning, middle or end of it, this eclipse represents the birth—or rebirth—of the next phase of your journey. Even with wings on your heels, it's important to take one step at a time.

It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.
~ Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

Aug.22 – Mars trine Saturn (21:11 of Leo/Sagittarius)

This is a great time for disciplined action that can produce grounded, specific and stable results. If you have a project that needs to push ahead to the next step, you may find this is a good time to do that. If you want to make progress with your ambitions, goals and plans, this can be a good time to make plans or to take action. You are likely to feel "together," capable and strong, giving you a serious, calm and realistic confidence. It's usually easier to control or restrain your more volatile emotions, and present yourself as someone who is stable and on top of things. This transit can bring sustained physical energy that doesn't burn itself out quickly and can pace itself for lasting endurance. Remember that the effects of this transit typically last only about a week or two, so make the most of it!

Aug.22 – Sun enters Virgo (until Sep.22)  (Aug.23 in 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.24 – Venus trine Chiron (27:41 of Cancer/Pisces)  (Aug.23 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT)

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.

Aug.24 – Venus square Uranus (28:20 of Cancer/Aries)  (Aug.25 in AU)

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.

Aug.25 – Saturn Stationary Direct (21:10 of Sagittarius; until Apr.17.2018)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

For up to a week before and after this date, Saturn's energy is especially intense and strong. You might experience this as physical or mental heaviness or sluggishness. You might find you have to "get real" with some responsibilities, or make some difficult decisions. This can be a turning point in long-term projects and plans that you've been developing over the last 5 months or so. Or, you may start to deal differently with old limitations, either finding ways to move beyond them or finding ways to make peace with them. If you're dealing with closure or endings in some area of your life, this could be a time when you can finally start to let go and move forward.

Aug.26 – Venus enters Leo (until Sep.19)  (Aug.25 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT, CDT)

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 – Sun conjunct Mercury Retrograde (03:47 of Virgo)  (Aug.27 in AU)

When the Sun conjoins Mercury Retrograde, there is a new beginning in the areas of awareness, communication, use of information and exchange of ideas. This may or may not be heralded by a recognisable event or experience, although for a day or two your consciousness may shift. Your awareness and mental concentration may take a dip into the unconscious, becoming unusually murky and muddy, or it may rise into ultra-consciousness and become suddenly clear and lucid (afterwards returning to the usual Mercury retrograde fog). A new awareness or perspective on what has unfolded during the retrograde cycle thus far may surface now, or an unworkable attitude or perception of these events may fall apart under the weight of new information. This shift of awareness may be obvious or subtle, sudden or gradual, but this transit marks a turning point in the Mercury retrograde cycle. It also marks a time when mental awareness often goes further underground, for the rest of the retrograde period, making it a little harder to operate objectively and rationally in the outside world. Spend some time in your right-brain, intuitive, non-rational mind, which can coax your mental creativity and inventiveness to the surface.

Here are the key dates of this Mercury cycle (for North American Eastern Time):

Aug.27 – Mars conjunct North Lunar Node (24:09 of Leo)  (Aug.26 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT) ("What's a Lunar Node?")

For up to a week before and after this date, you are likely to feel energized in some way. You might feel enthusiastic, active, passionate, easily angered or downright wired. Or you could be around others who are feeling this way. On the other hand, this energy might also be somewhat explosive, aggressive or overbearing in some way. At its worst, it could indicate violence, although it's more likely to increase energy levels in general. If you and others are in a positive head space, this raised energy can easily be used constructively. If in a negative head space, it could result in conflict, argument or hostility. The important thing is to find a constructive or beneficial outlet for this energy. It's a good time to try new things or take risks BUT make sure this is balanced with some solid common sense too.

Aug.27 – Jupiter sextile Saturn (21:11 of Libra/Sagittarius)

The planet of expansion (Jupiter) and the planet of contraction (Saturn) have found common ground under this transit. There is a cooperative collaboration between your hope and your caution, your dreams and your reality. This is a good time to take your visions and aspirations and get serious about how you could make them happen. Intuitive wisdom and hard-knocks experience can work together and enhance each other.

This is part of a 20-year cycle, starting when Jupiter and Saturn were conjunct. You might be at the beginning of a long journey of development (that started about 3 or 4 years ago), or you might be nearing completion of that journey (which began about 16 or 17 years ago). Either way, this is a time to take note of ideas and opportunities that are realistic but not limited by pragmatism. You might be able to learn something new that provides an important resource for your goals and ambitions, or perhaps you can help others do the same by sharing your experience and knowledge.

This is the only pass of the Jupiter-Saturn sextile. However, in December 2016 they came within less than a quarter of a degree but did not become exact. That means the opportunities you have available to you and the inspiration and plans you are working on now probably have some kind of connection to whatever was happening in your life last December.

Dates for the current Jupiter-Saturn cycle:

Aug.31-Sep.19 – Transits to Solar Eclipse chart and Transiting Planets

Starting at the end of August, there is a parade of planetary transits over the Solar Eclipse point (28° Leo), as well as to planets in the SE chart. This is especially active from Aug.31 to Sep.07 (give or take a day or two on either side). In mid-September, other aspects between transiting planets and to the Solar Eclipse chart bring a few more ripple effects. The energy of the eclipse is likely to be reactivated during these times. So don't unbuckle your seat belts just yet! Stay grounded and give yourself and others some extra patience. If you get overwhelmed, take a break from whatever is happening. And pay attention to what is getting on your nerves – there may be some special insight in that for you. For more information about the energy being reconstituted, see my article on the Solar Eclipse in Leo.

Transits (T) to the Solar Eclipse point (28° Leo), other planets in the Solar Eclipse (SE) chart, and transiting planets:

Aug.31 – Mercury Retrograde enters Leo (until Sep.09)  (Sep.01 in AU)

Mercury is retrograde in Leo, which means it is a good time to look inside and examine your motives, self-image and creativity. Your unconscious could be closer to the surface now, and therefore your creativity might increase during this time. Dreams may be more vivid than usual and might give you new ideas and inspiration for creative projects and insight. On the other hand, your creativity could seem to suddenly disappear, which may mean it needs to germinate in your unconscious or perhaps just take a break for a while. You might find the normal self-talk chatter in your mind becomes a bit louder or more dramatic than usual during this time. By listening closely, you could learn a lot about your self-image, your deep-down motivations, and how you reinforce – or undermine – your self-esteem through your thoughts, internal "self-talk," and how you talk about yourself with others. For example, do you make jokes where you put yourself down? Are your thoughts encouraging or critical of what you do, think, feel or say? This is an opportunity to become more aware of how your self-image is formed, supported or undermined by your conscious perceptions.

Sep.02 – Mars trine Uranus (28:09 of Leo/Aries)

This is a very high energy time, although not necessarily predictable or reliable. Your energy may come in spurts or in response to situations that don't normally affect you very much. You may find an upsurge of daring and confidence that seem to come out of nowhere. Or your sexual desire might suddenly come alive. This transit can inspire motivation that is spontaneous, sudden or unexpected. It might make your physical or emotional energy fluctuate or feel a bit "wired." However, it can also give a burst of courage and drive that can propel you out of a rut or inspire you to break free of limitations. Freedom, liberation and asserting your individuality are key areas that can ignite this energy. You might also find yourself involved in group activities, possibly in a leadership role or in a way that your ideas have a greater effect than usual on others.

Sep.03 – Mercury Retrograde conjunct Mars (28:43 of Leo)  (Sep.02 in HAST)

Spontaneous or impulsive words may come flying out of your mouth under this transit! If you've been struggling to keep opinions or observations to yourself, you might find it hard to keep them quiet, especially if you feel strongly about the situation. You might see things as more "cut and dried" than usual. Although you might feel frustrated if things don't happen in a direct, quick, straightforward way, it can also be a good time to make decisions and move forward with plans. On one hand, this can have a positive effect because it can give you courage to speak your mind and assert yourself candidly and honestly. On the other hand, you might also come across as abrupt, cranky, argumentative or even downright hostile, especially if you've been stuffing down anger or resentment for a while. This transit represents a new beginning in how you can handle self-assertiveness, communication and decision-making. By "listening to" your impulses, passions and urge to speak your truth, you can get an idea how your "inner voice" wants to emerge – and how to do that without annihilating the other person. ;-)


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Sep.05 – Sun opposite Neptune (12:51 of Virgo/Pisces)  (Sep.04 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT)

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.

Sep.05 – Mars enters Virgo (until Oct.22)  (Sep.04 in HAST)

You are likely to have a lot of energy for working in practical ways under this transit. This can be a good time to respond to projects, challenges and obstacles with some analytical problem-solving. It may be easier now to take action in ways that are adaptable and flexible to match the situation at hand. However, it is also possible for your actions to become fragmented or bogged down in detail, so try to approach what you do with a purpose and an easily reachable goal in mind. Health issues may be a focus now, either out of necessity (health problems may flare up) or out of motivation (determination to improve your health). If you are looking for a new job, this could be a good time to get focused and go after what you want. It is also a good time to devote your energy to service of some kind. For example, you could help a friend move, or volunteer at the local food bank, or just perform some "acts of random kindness."

Sep.05 – Mercury Stationary Direct (28:25 of Leo; Direct until Dec.03)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Mercury Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

Mercury finally turns direct! Yippeeee!!!! ;-) But we're not out of the woods just yet. For up to a week before and after today, you may experience mental intensity, confusion, and miscommunications or simply changes in your outlook. After being Retrograde for the last 3 to 3½ weeks, Mercury is now taking a slow turn to resume Direct motion. This period has challenged you to rethink and rehash things that required some fine-tuning or revision. The Direct station can be a time when clearer decisions start to emerge from the issues and struggles you've encountered during the retrograde period. Or, it might turn your perspective around so that you're seeing your situation fresh again.

Over the next couple of weeks, while Mercury is still in the Shadow, your brain may feel a bit like it's gradually waking up after a deep sleep. During this time, you can gradually put into practice the learning and knowledge you've gained from your retrograde "dreams" and moonlight visions. It will take time to get fully back into sync with the Mercury direct energy. So, take it slow, one step at a time, and untangle yourself one strand at a time.

This Mercury station is an especially significant one! It stations exactly conjunct the Solar Eclipse in Leo that happened on Aug.21. (Yes—THAT eclipse.) Therefore, a lot of the issues, challenges and processes that were active around the eclipse are likely to be reactivated now—perhaps not in the same way, but possibly as an outcome or consequence of the eclipse events.

Mercury is also conjunct Mars right now, so the emotional pitch and sense of urgency are likely to be high. You may feel the need to act on situations, ideas and changes in perspective that have been percolating over the last few weeks. The urge to take action or behave impulsively, recklessly or reactively is a hazard right now, so make sure you're well grounded in reality and awareness of possible consequences.

Read my article for the Solar Eclipse that goes into this in detail.

Here are the key dates of this Mercury cycle (for North American Eastern Time):


Next Update:  FULL MOON in PISCES. Available by September 6, 2017.

© 2017 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or used without the author's written permission. Astrology diagrams © Wendy Guy unless otherwise noted. Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at Other Credits: Photo of Total Solar Eclipse, by Oregon State University [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo of Partial Solar Eclipse, 20th March 2015, viewed from the United Kingdom; by Steven Allen, via Solar Eclipse visibility map screenshot from interactive map, A Mermaid, painting by John William Waterhouse [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Composite image showing solar corona at eclipse totality, by Fred Espenak, NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Shadow of 1999 Solar Eclipse visible on the Earth, taken by French astronaut from MIR space station (photo via NASA, credit via Vox).

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