The intensity is on as August opens, whether by actual temperature or from life itself. For many it feels like we’re living inside of a pressure cooker. Wow. Five out of ten planets are retrograde motion on August 1st, soon joined by Uranus turning retrograde at the end of the first week; meanwhile we also prepare for the third and final eclipse of the summer on August 11.
Spinning your wheels? Life turned upside down? Well…yes. The first three weeks of August in particular may have you feeling stuck. There is very little traction. Our efforts to push ahead feel swallowed up by a black hole.
Why? We aren’t supposed to be moving forward right now. If ever there was a time of reflection and introspection, this is it. Two key interpersonal planets, Messenger Mercury and Motivating Mars are retrograde for the balance of August. Mercury deals with communication while Mars sparks our actions. In reverse gear, we can feel our work bouncing right back at us without any feedback or barely inching forward.
If you are trying to get anything accomplished other than routine details (and not even then in many cases), this can be a very frustrating three weeks. With these planetary retrogrades comes the usual astrological cautions: avoid signing significant contracts or making major purchases, especially anything mechanical during the Mars retro period.
So how do you make August work for you?
Pick up the cosmic cues. We have a whole lot of heightened intuition. Our instincts are super sharp thanks to Jupiter in Scorpio harmonizing with Neptune in Pisces. Quiet your mind, pursue solitude so you can feel your natural internal guidance system, your soul’s GPS. Scorpion Jupiter gives us expert x-ray vision while Piscean Neptune has an accurate finger on the pulse of life. Your life. These two lead us with pure certainty about what is actually happening in our lives. Pay attention.
Ask whether it is easier or more work to bury your head in layers of denial…just because “that is the way it is” or ”that’s the way it’s always been done”. Um, no, no, no, no, no…. Not anymore.
Maximize August by leaning into self-reflection. Even if you can’t spare or afford a whole week off for vacation, taking a day or long weekend from your regular grind for radical self-care, pampering and healing will do a vast amount of good for your body, mind and spirit. Let your mind off the hook for now. Play.
The Lunar North Node in Leo is all about creativity, having fun, building a sand castle and mud pies for the sheer joy it gives, not for any status or how productive it makes you feel. This is not such a time. This August is anything but a classically productive period. Hard as this may be to digest: we are supposed to putter right now. Dilly dally.
Puttering is actually very helpful. It allows our minds and spirits to imagine possibilities even if we aren’t aware of it. Gardening, washing and waxing your car, cooking a favorite dish come to mind. Utilize this opportunity for a soul vacation. For inspiration and imagination. Puttering is productive in an altogether radical way…not the linear, Western hemisphere notion of productivity. Being still and simply being this month is equal to getting a full night’s sleep. You emerge on the other side awakened, refreshed and ready to go.
Feeding this great shift is Radical Uranus in earthy Taurus. It turns retrograde motion on August 6thand continues to square off with Mars in Aquarius. The Great Awakener suddenly jolts our internal awareness. Our ideas and ingenuity clash mightily with traditions, available resources, or other inhibitors if you are thinking along old lines. These conflicting forces are pushing us to think and do in completely new ways. Not just “out of the box” methods but perhaps by following unheard of, wildly different, alternative paths. Many are being forced to break apart from what no longer functions anymore. Expect abrupt announcements, course corrections, surprise and seemingly inexplicable events to throw curve balls at us.
Meanwhile, healer Chiron in fiery Aries catalyzes Capricorn Saturn to generate entirely new platforms on which to build our future. Create a new, functional and efficient foundation to grow your life. There is a tremendous physio-psychic push and pull occurring both internally and externally in our lives. What are you being shown now? Often repeatedly? How and what are you asked to be in this world? One thing is for sure: once August has passed, we face an entirely new landscape. The old is gone and with it, outdated modes of living.
On August 7th, Venus enters Libra for the remainder of the month. In her own sign, the planet of love, money and relationships smooths out ruffled feathers stirred up by the on-going cosmic tugs of war. Try focusing your attention on art, beauty and extending an olive branch to those you disagree with.
If not now, when? If not you, then whom?
You will be so glad you did. Surprise yourself, surprise whomever you’re sparring with, to reach across what divides you to find common ground. This will serve you in good stead heading into the third and final eclipse on Saturday, August 11th. This occurs on a New Moon and challenges Jupiter in Scorpio. Our will and emotions pull us one way – big, brash and boldly, while Jupiter shows us what is really happening in vivid colors.
If there were ever a time to check your ego, this would be it! Adding to the conflation, Messenger Mercury exactly squares off with Jupiter in Scorpio now too, playing tricks with our thoughts if we aren’t careful. Watch for deception, grand illusions and grandiose notions in yourself and in others; you may encounter huge asks, your eyes being way too big for your stomach, biting off more than you can chew. You get the idea. It is great to think big and live large but Scorpio Jupiter will make you keep it real. Do not get sucked into any smoke and mirror spin job…that you absolutely can’t live without ”X” or must believe “Y”, or else… Rather, use this energy to step back from your life to look at the global picture you want to paint and vision forward.
Set aside what you hope might happen and ask the hard questions: what is really going on? With focus and attentive effort, this otherwise confusing energy can be harnessed to your benefit. The August 11th eclipse affords abundant creativity with the Sun, Moon, Mercury and North Node in passionate Leo. Craft three to five intentions you hope to accomplish in the next month, season or year. Hand write these and either plant them in the earth or cast in a moving body of water.
The following week, Messenger Mercury turns direct motion on August 20th. Feel the collective sigh of relief? Technical glitches be gone! Slowly we are inching forward again, where our efforts to get ahead will stick. No sign appreciates this quite like Virgo, master of function and efficiency. So when the Sun enters analytical and earthy Virgo on August 23rd, we regain traction. Proceed with major purchases and signing contracts.
A few days later, like layers of blindfolds being peeled off, Mars finally turns direction motion on August 27th under the glow of the Full Moon the day prior. What has been brewing all month now rises to a head, culminating. You can feel the stagnating fog that permeated our energy lift away. We can see clearly again. We’ve waited so patiently (or perhaps not) to get going already, to get ready for fall. Returning from vacation, literal, mental/emotional or otherwise, the Virgo Sun helps us plan and prepare. Buy all those back-to-school supplies, new equipment, clothing, and so on. After Labor Day, we feel a surge of energy.
A useful reframe of the old first day of school question, “what did you do over the summer” might be: “what did you learn over the summer?”
The promise of a new day and a new season await your response.