Astrology of August 2011
by Henry Seltzer (
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The Astrology of August features once again the powerfully transformative energies of the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, plus a Mercury retrograde period that accentuates the thoughtful and meditative nature of this important midsummer time frame. The Leo New Moon that began this most recent Sun-Moon cycle in the ending weekend of July makes inconjunct aspects to both Neptune and to Pluto, in what is known as a yod formation. This New Moon also continues to emphasize the powerful and intensely close Uranus-Pluto square by trining Uranus. Venus is conjunct the New Moon and closely trines Uranus. Venus makes strong aspects to Chiron and Pluto as well, so that our relationship energy will tend to be all over the map, with surprising and profound developments on all fronts.

When Mercury turns retrograde on August 2nd, it is in the beginning degrees of Virgo, directly opposite Neptune. This makes for a three-week period of the retrograde that will be more confused and mystical than usual. As Mercury drifts back into Leo, it will also eventually make a sesqui-yod to Uranus and Pluto, formed by two sesqui-quadrate aspects to each, thus emphasizing once more the strong aspect between them. This perfects just as Mercury changes to direct motion on the 26th, so that the few days proceeding and following the Virgo New Moon of the 28th will be a particularly dicey time. Mercury leaves its retrograde shadow by September 9th.

This will be a supremely important and transformative as well as surprisingly insightful month, when many things in our lives could alter or begin to alter. This is because the Uranus-Pluto square – the primary outer planet collision that will become the hallmark of this turbulent decade – is still quite close to exact. It is only a little more than a degree off, and is aspected by both the New Moon of this month and the one at the end of August, which takes place on the 28th, at 5 degrees of Virgo, almost exactly trine to Pluto and inconjunct to Uranus.

Neptune too is a very potent energy in these August skies. Mercury remains opposed to Neptune for the first two weeks of the month, bringing the mystical and nebulous nature of this otherworldly energy directly into the mix surrounding Mercury’s retrograde. At each lunation phase the other personal planets Mars and Venus also make aspects to Neptune, as well as to Uranus and Pluto. All three outer planets are thereby emphasized. We’re in for a very interesting ride as we head into the fall season.

In all this there is opportunity as well as challenge, since we badly need to let go of the dead and dying past, of those unnecessary parts of ourselves that have outlived their usefulness and that are, in effect, holding us back from becoming a truer representation of the people that we need to be. The transformative powers of these outer planets are intended to help us by giving us the chance to transcend our former selves. We need to keep our heads on straight, or as straight as is humanly possible, in order not to miss that chance when it comes around.

August 2nd Mercury retrograde Mercury SR
Mercury’s Station of Tuesday August 2nd initiates a particularly nebulous and spaced out time for this month’s Mercury retrograde - and we will see the usual symptoms of introspective attitudes and missed connections, together with mechanical and communication breakdowns. This entire period -- right through to September 9th when Mercury regains its lost Zodiacal longitude -- is particularly intense due to Mercury’s opposition to Neptune; the opposition is almost exact today just as the retrograde commences.

August 6th First Quarter Moon First Quarter Moon Chart
The First Quarter Moon of Saturday morning, August 6th, is something of a doozey. This is that stressful lunar phase in any case, where we get to see just how much of what we conceived from the time of the New Moon one week ago has really proven itself to be viable, and where by contrast we find instead that we are running into a buzz saw. This time, Mars is opposite Pluto and square Uranus, while a newly retrograde Mercury exactly opposes spacey Neptune. This makes for some very interesting dynamics of attempted accomplishment accompanying this first quarter energy of tension. It’s as though we are trying to put at least some of the eggs into the basket and they are either being thrown at us or else we are wondering “where’s the basket?“

There is definitely a side of Mars-Uranus that is accident prone, and opposite Pluto as well means that tempers could flare, so it a really, really good time to watch your step and keep your eye on the prize; that is to say, the high-minded viewpoint. You can put it to yourself in various ways. One method might be to keep repeating – whenever things begin to get intense – “what difference will this make in a hundred years.“ Another choice that might be the preferred way would be to step back from any reactivity as it begins to take hold of you and not only count to ten, but count to ten again while silently witnessing everything that is going on inside you with the idea of framing it in the largest possible picture.

Since the Mercury retrograde period is powerful at this time we are faced with having to do everything twice; or perhaps finding out later that we didn’t need to do it at all. Remember to try not to try too hard. It’s a wonderful time however to look into your true motivations, as you can allow yourself to see them, and to journal like crazy regarding your concept of what is actually happening to you.

August 13th Full Moon Full Moon Chart
This Full Moon comes along at a volatile time in the midst of an extremely volatile month. The lunations were strong that preceded this cosmic balance point, posed by the Sun and Moon in opposition to each other, and now Neptune is activated and Mars is opposed to Pluto as well. Since Mars is also square Uranus, this brings once more to a head the revolutionary force of the Uranus-Pluto square – as the recent powerful July 1st eclipse did also – making for a strong end of summer time period. We are being urged to look deeply into our motivation now regarding anything that comes up for us, and to stay as free as possible from reactivity, instead taking the largest possible viewpoint into account; one that includes a better understanding of where we are actually at in terms of our own personal evolution.

It helps that the Moon in Aquarius brings Neptune into the picture, also being aspected for the next 30 days by joyful and energizing Jupiter, serving to soften the reactivity and foster a more spiritual perspective. This can also continue to be an extremely confusing time, with Mercury still in retrograde and opposing Neptune. We benefit from watching and waiting, bearing silent witness to our actions and the actions of others, preferring contemplation to jumping ahead too quickly.

The next few days beyond this interesting weekend are also quite intense. The Sun connects with Venus and retrograde Mercury on Tuesday the 16th as the Moon enters Aries, while the next day Mars conjuncts the July 1st degree, forming a Grand Cross with Pluto, Uranus and Saturn. We could find that issues in our lives from that early summer time frame are reemerging now, creating an opportunity for thoughtfulness and greater clarification. This is an excellent time to journal concerning where we might be heading in our lives both in general and over this powerful summer time frame in particular.

The world is changing around you – as you are inevitably changing as well – so that it is important to remain as conscious as possible regarding your own arc of development in the midst of massive societal transformation.

August 21st Last Quarter Moon Last Quarter Moon Chart
The Last Quarter Moon taking place this weekend, on Sunday, August 21st – at about 3 PM on the West Coast, 6 PM on the East Coast – represents an excellent chance to look back over the course of the month and evaluate where you have been and how far you have come internally. This phase is not so much about action, but rather about reaction to events that have transpired over the course of the three-week period that preceded it, and comes with an extra strong push in this direction from the Mercury retrograde period with which we began the month. At that time, Mercury occupied the initial degrees of Virgo, and now at this important crossroads, Venus enters Virgo practically coincident with this Quarter Moon, which features the Sun in the 29th degree of Leo in very nearly in exact opposition to Neptune, just as Mercury was when it began its backward motion nearly three weeks back.

With Neptune in the picture there is always an emphasis on paradoxical situations and feelings, along with an especially strong dose of synchronicity. Music and poetry are favored as expressions of mystical meaning; truth that is non-rational and that goes beyond the more obvious factoids of merely logical ratiocination. This mystical factor is very important to keep in mind as we ponder our position in an expanding personal universe. As a society we are in the midst of immense change, and we are striving mightily to discern what our own portion of that change might encompass, because it is going to take all of us. Part of what holds important clues for us now is our ability to see beyond the immediate concerns of putting bread on the table to what constitutes the largest possible picture meaning of what we as humans are up to at this important juncture in a radically transforming civilization. It’s a truly excellent time to journal, and to reflect on our transition, both personal and societal.

With this philosophical backdrop in mind we might begin to see where we fit in, and how the changes that we are going through personally contribute to the larger trends of either what we would appreciate or what we would like to eliminate as we look into our deeper motivations and the ultimate consequences of our actions.

August 28th New Moon New Moon Chart
This end of August and almost end of summer leading up to Labor Day, even though not officially, is a very interesting time, since the New Moon of Sunday, August 28th, forms a Grand Trine in Earth signs with Jupiter and with Pluto. This Virgo New Moon also opposes Chiron in Pisces just as Uranus makes a strong semi-sextile aspect to the sensitive symbolism of The Wounded Healer. Chiron is also aspected by Mars, Saturn and Pluto. The Uranus-Pluto square, triggered by this New Moon, is still active, although now beginning its six months break from the most heightened expression of its revolutionary impact. We have experienced this impact over the spring and summer and we will experience it again with even greater intensity in the spring of 2012. This has been evident in the craziness of the past several months which comes to quite a large degree of instability when you add it all up together, including the nearly catastrophic nuclear melt-down and tsunami in Japan, the uprisings of the Middle East that toppled so far at least one established dictator, the potential overthrow by civil war of Khadafi in North Africa and the street protests in New York, London, Wisconsin and Oakland. You will want to ask just what has been the revolutionary highlight of your particular arc of personal development and what might be the remaining structures in your own life still left to be toppled.

With Chiron in the picture of this New Moon we can also expect that our inner woundings might somehow arise to the surface for greater acceptance and healing. It helps to remember that you are never angry for the reason that you think you are, and that words spoken hastily are difficult to take back so that everyone benefits by applying patience. If old patterns do arise now, it is an excellent opportunity to address the underlying causes, to find that wounded child within you and sooth its fears rather than triggering the unhappy child energy within others. If in spite of best intentions there are methods that we try that do not succeed we can be positive like Thomas Edison was when confronted with the 200th failure to find a material that would serve as a filament for the first light bulb. “No it’s great he exclaimed – we now know 200 things that do not work.“

With this New Moon also, we find that Venus is moving away from the Sun for the first time in several weeks, making its appearance as the Evening Star by mid-September. This emphasizes the energy of relationship over going it alone, and provides for group solutions to pressing social problems, even as we struggle to find the unique individual voice that truly represents our own way of contributing to them.