The Astrology of August features Uranus and Neptune, highlighted by two eclipses. The month of August starts off with a bang ñ with a Solar Eclipse at the very beginning of the month that aspects volatile Uranus. Since the mid-month Lunar Eclipse and Full Moon conjuncts Neptune, the numinous and the other-worldly are strongly brought to our attention throughout a monthly period in which surprises abound. In the August 1st configuration, the Leo Sun and Moon emphasize the individual over the collective, even as the aspect with Uranus and the North Node in group-oriented Aquarius emphasizes the collective over the individual. This makes sense in terms of the larger picture, since it is a truism that before giving up one's ego-orientation one must first have an ego to give up. We must find out who we are in the fullest sense, before we are ready to move beyond to collective goals. As we come to realize the full scope of our unique individuality consistent with inner purpose rather than with prior conditioning, we can find our way forward and begin for the sake of humanity at large to make of ourselves a joyful rather than a resentful sacrifice.
In another chime with this higher social ideal, Venus is almost exactly opposite Neptune in Aquarius at the time of the Solar Eclipse, bringing to us an idealized conception of relationship with Spirit as well as with everyone around us. This has its downside in that it can also lead to illusion or even outright deception, depending on how we choose to manifest this energy in our lives. A few days later, Venus enters discriminating Virgo and then moves through her conjunction there with Saturn, bringing us very much down to earth as well as up in the air over this part of the month, especially with regard to our important connections with others. Venus makes another move at the time of the mid-month Lunar Eclipse and Full Moon, coming to a strong and positive aspect with expansive Jupiter. Mars has also an exact square with transformative Pluto, leading us to explore, in one way or another, our assertive and perhaps even our aggressive urges. The relationship roller-coaster over these first two weeks of August is therefore profound and ever-changing.
The Lunar Eclipse and Full Moon of August 16th that caps this period is a powerful moment because the Moon conjuncts Neptune quite closely, bringing our sense of the mystical, and of social idealism, into even greater focus. This may be a confusing time as well, as we try with varying degrees of success to interpret and interweave the subtle presence of numinous other planes of reality into our daily lives. These energies take us out of our ordinary mode of thought, and open us to the presence of divine forces that are in reality all around us, if only we can, in the words of Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter "close our eyes to see." We can look beyond the physical at any time to become aware of cosmic powers conspiring for our benefit, but paradoxically must also remain firmly in the here and now to act on this awareness and to work from the strength of our convictions.
Transits to the U.S. Chart
Last month we mentioned a celebratory mood for July and the opportunity for fresh revelations of idealism and high minded national politics, based on the transit of Uranus in opposition to U. S. Neptune, and indeed we have seen some good vibes events going down over the past several weeks. The most dramatic was the speech by Barack Obama in Berlin, which looked for all the world like a presidential visit, in mood leaving behind the nitty-gritty details of actually winning the election and skipping right to the ovations at the finish line. Of course, it may not be that easy, but nice to bask in a moment of glory anyway and to see the potential for America's image, so tarnished in recent years, to be for a shining moment restored symbolically if not in actuality. Both candidates were making nice this month on the campaign trail, with McCain embracing the Dalai Lama.
The symbolism of Neptune also involves oil, and there was a surprising shock administered to that industry by the other major event of this past month, when Al Gore gave his ten year challenge to be "carbon-free" in electricity production in the United States and in the automobile fleet as well by the year 2018, running our automobiles at the average rate of the equivalent of $1 per gallon. He says the technology is already there and only the political will is necessary. The timing of that announcement was quite interesting, as July 17th, the date of the announcement, was the day before the midnight Full Moon that aspected transiting Uranus, at a time when the transit of Uranus (surprises, unexpected enlightenment) opposite U.S. Neptune (oil) was within 4 minutes or 1/15 of a degree from exact. Also the Moon that day was conjunct transiting Jupiter as it opposed the Sun in the U.S. chart, signifying unbridled optimism, while the Sun was conjunct U.S. Mercury representing the media.
This month might see more of the same, since transiting Uranus again is aspected, at the time of the August 1st Solar Eclipse, as is transiting Neptune at the time of the Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse of August 16th. Transiting Neptune is also closely aspecting U.S. Neptune as well as U.S. Mars at this time, so the wheels may be once more in motion for further announcements of a similar kind concerning our energy future in the first half of the month. Neptune in combination with Mars also can symbolize deception regarding the military, or oil and the military, and information could possibly come out regarding these subjects as well during these first two weeks of August.
For more information on the U.S. chart and its Mars – Neptune square, see our Zodiactivism section.
August 1st Solar Eclipse New Moon
This powerful New Moon in Leo has the additional feature of making a sesquiquadrate aspect with Uranus. The unexpected enlightenment of the promethean planet will therefore be a factor all through the month, and surprises abound. In the case of close aspects with natal charts, this influence may be a factor for many months to come. You might want to look to see if any natal degree in your chart falls within a few degrees of 10 Leo, or with any of the Fixed signs of Taurus, Scorpio, or Aquarius. Also at this extra-special New Moon we find that Venus is opposite numinous Neptune, a harbinger of outer planet influence in general that is again emphasized at the time of the Full Moon two weeks further on. The aspect between Venus and Neptune provides an idealistic and potentially confusing highlight to al our relationships at this time.
August 8th First Quarter Moon
This phase traditionally represents the "crisis of action" implicit in coming to terms with what portion of our dreams can and cannot survive in the cruel world of manifestation. The tender shoot pokes its head out and will either thrive or else must wither. Coming on the heels of an intense eclipse lunation as it does, this will be an especially important juncture. The Sun and Moon in square with each other also make a T-square to Chiron in Aquarius, which is closely conjunct the North Node for this entire first week of the month. This emphasis on Chiron indicates that old dysfunctional patterns of behavior could come up for greater acceptance and eventual healing, especially those of our goals, our group orientation and where we sub-serve our interests to the commonality of collective ideals.
August 16th Full Moon Lunar Eclipse
Another eclipse lets us know that this is an unusually powerful Full Moon, and also the close conjunction of the Moon with Neptune brings the numinous very much to bear at this time. Idealism is rampant and also the possibility of confusion, even outright deception, as this complex symbol may manifest at any of several different levels. The divine intersects the physical plane in complex and multifaceted ways. It is interesting that throughout this monthly cycle the numinous energies beyond the physical stand opposed to and triggered by the personal planets in the more personal signs. We have always before us as this cycle unfolds the contrast to dwell on and the chance to enhance our understanding of our true nature as spirits in the material world.
August 23rd Last Quarter Moon
This phase represents what dean of Western Astrology Dane Rudhyar termed the "crisis in awareness" represented by seeing what has succeeded and what has not over the preceding cycle. We are brought to a new lever of understanding as a result of the struggle to manifest our deepest desires and this wisdom serves as the seed of the next cycle starting with the coming New Moon. In this case too, the Sun has moved into Virgo in preparation. This Sun and Moon also aspect Pluto, reminding us of the necessary transformation of our goals and ideals as we go through life.
August 30th New Moon
This New Moon in discriminating Virgo conjuncts Saturn there, pulling us down to the real, and setting the stage for a new cycle in September. This makes a marked contrast to the high flying lunations of early August. We benefit by remembering the physical world, since we must make our place and our stand there, in spite of our connection to the beyond which is also very much with us at this time. At first we see only the physical world, but then, with partial enlightenment, comes an understanding that we are in essence much beyond that state. But then, in a more mature understanding, we acknowledge and embrace the physical as a necessary part of the whole, and our bodies as a necessary vehicle for Spirit. In the words of sixties icon Donovan "First there is a mountain then there is no mountain, then there is."