The start of August finds us at an unusual impasse with five planets retrograde–Saturn, Mars, Mercury, Neptune, Pluto–and a couple of asteroid friends too, like Chiron. The feeling in the air is more like waiting than progressing, but all of this arrested energy is building within the container of eclipse season, when life speeds up and unexpected events happen. This contradictory dynamic can be challenging because movement is stilted, yet what is happening feels completely out of our control. Remember that basic Mercury retrograde good practices are not to make any major purchases, buy electronics, sign contracts, or start something new during this time if you can avoid it. Of course, life marches on, and many happy people have done all of those things during a Mercury retrograde and lived to be just fine. However, make sure to read the fine print, review details twice, buy the warranty, and most important of all, try to stay flexible, especially when traveling.
The desire for action is heightened on August 1, when Mars squares a soon to be retrograde Uranus. This is the second of three squares the red planet will make to the great Liberator, but since Mars is the closest to the Earth he has been since 2003, this one may be felt the most profoundly. The first occurred on May 16, so there may be a continuation of themes from that time, and the final square will happen on September 18. Breakthroughs are often preceded by breakdowns so if you’re worried you’re headed for the latter, it may just be a prelude before the former.
There is much to celebrate at the beginning of the month because August 1 is the pagan festival of Lughnasadh/Lammas, the first harvest, when people give thanks to the earth for sacrificing her bounty. If you like you can decorate your altar with flowers, grain, corn dollies, freshly baked loaves of bread, and images of the Sun. This is an approximate halfway point between the Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox and there is a mingling of moods. We’re in Leo season, the Sun is high in the sky, fruit is ripe on the trees, and the fields are abundant with crops. This is Gaia in her full glory, yet contained within this moment of Summer grandeur is the promise of the Fall because the Sun has already peaked and light is on the descent.
Ancient people wove the astronomical cycle into their mythology. The movements of the Sun were illustrated through the life cycle of the God. The Goddess was constant throughout the year, but the God lived and died over and over, being born from her anew only to pass again in an endless cycle of death and rebirth. At the Summer Solstice/Litha the Green God, in full strength, joined with the Goddess, but there is a bittersweet element to Lughnasadh as the pregnant Goddess realizes that her consort is fading. Although the God will eventually die in the Fall, he will live on through the child the Goddess is carrying, their son (Sun). The myth reminds us of the preciousness of life because change is the only constant, and this too, shall pass. Lughnasadh is a wonderful time to connect with your appreciation of Gaia for the gift of food that sustains and nourishes 7 billion bodies all over the world everyday. Make a ritual out of a meal and thank the thousands of human hands that contributed to creating your plate, most of all the farmers and farm workers.
Harmony and peace are the order of the day as Venus enters her home sign of Libra on August 6. Symbolized by the scales, Libra is an air sign, which rules the mental realm, and seeks balance and justice. Venus will stay here until September 9, helping us to learn how to live in right relationship with all beings. The following day, August 7, we have another earth shaking event, as Uranus stations retrograde, adding to the backward motion in the sky. The Awakener will be retrograde for the remainder of the year, retreating into Aries on November 7 and giving us another taste of fire. Until then, he will retrace his steps through Taurus, reminding us of what he came to build with the Venus ruled earth sign.
The last eclipse of the year occurs at the Leo New Moon on August 11, which is an excellent night to set intentions about self-actualization and self-expression. Speak your mind if there’s something that needs to be said, but make sure the words flow from your heart. If others are not able to receive it, let them be. Focus on doing you because that’s really the point of all this, to shine your beautiful light out.
Mercury emerges from their retrograde period as a morning star on August 19, infused with the wisdom of their travels and ready to begin a new cycle. Still in vibrant Leo and square Jupiter, there may be a playful spontaneity to our speech and thoughts, but try to temper any overly enthusiastic impulsiveness. The Sun leaves it’s happy domicile for the cooler climes of restrained Virgo on August 23. While in Leo the Sun loves to romp and play, but Virgo has a To Do list and free time comes last. We now turn our attention to getting clear about priorities and organized about how to carry them out. If you’ve neglected your nest a bit during the busy bustle of Summer, beautify now as you settle into spending more time indoors during cooler days.
There is a luscious full moon in Pisces on August 26, co-present with Neptune, the modern ruler of Pisces, God of the Ocean, and trine Jupiter. Neptune has a mystical aura, and heightens psychic sensitivity. This would be a great night to convene that coven you’ve been dreaming about, and practice scrying together with your crystal ball. The Sun in Virgo is opposite this Moon, and trining Saturn in Capricorn, reminding us that our big visions need to be grounded in the earth to take root. The danger of Neptune is the desire to bypass the messy and mundane physical world on the quest for spiritual enlightenment, but that doesn’t work because our body is the entry point for experiencing the wisdom of the Divine.
Our will returns in full force on August 27 when Mars goes direct in Capricorn where he is exalted. After two months retrograde, since June 26, Mars is ready to get to work again. Enjoy this day and notice if you feel different now that Mars is moving forward again, especially people with Aries or Scorpio Sun or Moon. Although Uranus went retrograde in August, we are leaving the month in a better position than we came in with Mercury and Mars back in action.
By the end of the month you can give yourself a pat on the back for having survive eclipse season. We may continue to feel some reverberations till the Virgo New Moon on September 9, but the hardest part is behind us. Enjoy the heat of August and remember to gather ye rosebuds while ye may.