Unless you have been visiting another far, faraway galaxy somewhere, you know by now that August is going to be a very busy astronomical (and astrological) month.
Not only was there a Lunar eclipse on the Aug. 7 Full Moon, but it is followed by what is being called, The American Eclipse — a very rare total solar eclipse that streaks from coast to coast across the United States, Aug. 21.
But as if that’s not enough, we begin a Mercury retrograde Aug. 12, and still there is MORE. Some of the world’s most insightful astrologers have a lot to say about this fiery sky, and it’s been challenging to narrow it down to just some easily digestible tidbits.
But I’ve done my best, so here goes…
First, let’s talk about the Mercury retrograde. Because yeah, that’s probably the one with the worst reputation.
Mercury Retrograde, August 12-Sept. 5, 2017
First, let’s get clear. Mercury retrograde is not evil!
No matter what you’ve heard (including my own Mercury retrograde contests many years ago, where a prize went to the sorriest tale of woe!), Mercury retros are not supposed to be a plague upon us.
Of course, in a world that is go-go-go and never slow down, it can be a challenge. Mercury is the God of communication and travel, and so this planet influences business, technology, communications, and is very likely to be a player in August vacation plans.
As you also certainly know, the planets never actually back up; it only looks that way from our perspective here on Earth, thanks to the differing speeds and distances of the various planets’ orbits.
So when the planet that presides over the communications grid; planes, trains, and automobiles; conversations and contracts; and commercial enterprise slows to a seeming stop, and then goes backwards, it’s not surprising that those matters may be disrupted.
I like what astrologer Bill Herbst writes, in his very enlightening paper regarding Mercury retrogrades:
A great deal of astrological advice is offered surrounding Mercury Retrograde. “Don’t do this, don’t do that, be careful with this other thing.”
Much of the advice about what to not do or what to avoid during a Mercury Retrograde—some of which is quite specific—boils down to a single admonition:
“Consider not attempting to move ahead (at least, if you can, and if life permits). Do what ever must be done, but—wherever possible—slow down, take a break, and reconsider where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re headed.”
That’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but it’s a pretty sound recommendation, and it resonates nicely with the advice offered frequently by astrologers to use the period of the Mercury Retrograde Loop to “clean up old and unfinished business.” That’s often easier said than done, of course, but it’s worth keeping in mind, and it goes with the symbolism of backing up before moving forward again.
A Mercury Retrograde Loop is a pause, essentially—a pause for reflection, a time that’s built into Life’s ebbs and flows when we can benefit from a reassessment. It’s a great time for temporarily turning inward and not pushing forward into the outer environment. Think of it as sabbatical—not a vacation, but a time of letting things in your outer life cool out and come to rest while you listen to the music of your inner life.
Probably the best resource to help navigate a Mercury Retrograde is patience, a quality that’s often in short supply in our lives, but is all the more valuable when we can call it forth from within.
This opportunity to pause and reassess could hardly be timed better, because the period from the Full Moon of Aug. 7 through the acclaimed Solar Eclipse/New Moon of Aug. 21 (also a “Black Moon,” since it’s a second consecutive New Moon in the same sign) holds a momentous imperative for releasing, letting go, and being finished forever with whatever is no longer good for us.
The Great American Eclipse
Even if you don’t live in the United States, you can hardly be unaware of the gigantic hoopla building up to the August 21 total Solar Eclipse.
For months, hotels and campsites from the coast of Oregon to the shores of South Carolina have been sold out to would-be viewers of this once-in-a-lifetime event. An estimated 12 million people live in the path of totality, and as many as 7 million more will migrate to the path for the big event.
Not since 1918 has a total eclipse crossed our country, and this is the first total solar eclipse to occur solely in the United States since the country was founded. For most Americans, this is the best chance to see a solar eclipse we will have in our lifetimes.
The next total solar eclipse visible from planet Earth will occur in July 2019 over Argentina and Chile. But the United States won’t see another total eclipse until April 8, 2024, and certainly not from coast to coast.
Even non-astrologers agree that the Aug. 21 eclipse, dubbed “The American Eclipse” is indeed a big deal.
But what about the astrology?
Frankly, I have been inundated with fantastic articles by some of the world’s very best astrologers regarding this highly significant event. I’ve had a very difficult time trying to narrow it all down, so as not to overwhelm you (and me!).
Not since the 2008 economic disaster warnings have I seen so many outstanding and passionate articles from my very favorite astrologers. Although those were less hopeful days, this too is a profoundly pivotal time. Probably, in the long run, even more so.
The only astronomical difference between a New Moon and a total solar eclipse is that in the former, the Moon is a little above or below the Sun, so it doesn’t cover the Sun’s face. Close, but no banana, so to speak…
Out of the New Moon emerges the Crescent, the Half, the Full Moon, and eventually it all wanes back down to another New Moon. So a New Moon is both an ending and a new beginning.
A total solar eclipse is simply an intensified, special-case version of exactly the same thing. In essence, it is a New Moon on steroids: an epochal new start – and of course any such start must be preceded by some dramatic ending.
Space must be made for the new beginning.
Now, to be true to the sky-poetry of an eclipse, add that little tingle of fear everyone feels in his or her bones as the Sun disappears – or at the very least a dose of humbling, knee-knocking awe. Death is scary, and something must die for something to be born. A good thing or a bad thing? That depends on whether you are the baby bunny rabbit or the pregnant coyote.
An example: Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon on March 7, 51 B.C., the day of a solar eclipse. Thus died the Roman Republic to make way for the Roman Empire. Personally I pray that particular pattern does not repeat itself here in America.
Momentous events – such as Caesar crossing the Rubicon – often occur right around eclipses, although their effects can sometimes be triggered even months later as planets contact the place where the eclipse occurred – a fact that quickly gets into deeper technical astrological territory. The degree of the solar eclipse seems to remain “charged” for a while, waiting for transiting planets to form aspects to it…
Here’s the easy part – there is a big difference between the “poetry” of the days leading up to an eclipse and the days immediately afterwards. Right before an eclipse, something is rather literally dying – the Moon cycle itself.
Events rooted in those two weeks [between the Full Moon and the New Moon] or so often go awry. Intentions are thwarted. Keep that in mind as you make any personal plans – or as you watch any news that might be unfolding – during the “fortnight” before August 21st.
I hope you’ll take a few moments to read his entire essay. It is truly brilliant and it includes some very important perspective regarding how this American eclipse will actually affect America.
(By the way, if you’re hungry for a steady stream of smart, sparkling updates about astrology and world affairs, you absolutely need to subscribe to Elisabeth Grace’s forecasts!)
Meantime, in another one of Steve’s recent newsletters, he elaborated on the intense Leo/Fire energy of this time:
The Leo New Moon [the first one, on July 23] serves as the entrance to an extraordinary, life-changing wormhole. No one will be the same when we exit at the time of the Virgo New Moon on September 19th.
Contained within this unprecedented wormhole are two Leo New Moons in a row separated by an Aquarius Full Moon, the yearly Lion’s Gate passage [this link is NOT from Steve.- B.] at the time of the Aquarius Full Moon, Mercury’s retrograde cycle, and two eclipse cycles with a rare Full Solar Eclipse passing directly over the United States of America.
The [July] Leo New Moon is activating this wormhole at the first degree of Leo. On August 21st, we will experience the second Leo New Moon at 29 Leo, the Master degree of the Heart.
With the Full Solar Eclipse occurring on this rare, second Leo New Moon, we are being imbued with the Heart of the Cosmos. We stand at the precipice to the Universe within us with a newly burgeoning co-creative perspective that will emerge out of this wormhole to help us see more clearly that the Cosmos is contained within us and to know that we are Its representatives here on Earth.
This Leo New Moon and wormhole is a passageway deep into the Heart of ourSelf.
I believe the Mercury retrograde is a heavenly gift working in harmony with this powerful eclipse time, especially as it starts in Virgo where we have celestial support for sorting through the details of our health, work, and well-being. It offers as a graceful opportunity to slow down, review and reflect, in order to allow or even expedite the death of what hinders our highest good.
And speaking of karma …
Don’t Forget Saturn
The other big news this month, perhaps not as sexy, but vitally important, is that Saturn, which has been grinding away in retrograde since April 6th, is slowly becoming stationary, and will turn direct on August 25th. Saturn is the Lord of Karma, the teacher, task-master, and time-keeper. Whatever has felt hung-up in these areas — legal investigations come to mind — will now get un-stuck. Saturn’s slow switch-over to forward motion will likely awaken new energy for the priorities you want to take on.
But Mercury will still be retrograde, so channel that enthusiasm into patience, preparing, and planning, because real traction might not be possible until the planet of commerce, communication, and technology stations direct (Sept. 5).
People Get Ready…
As my friend (another incredible astrologer), Lynn Hayes noted in her wise and essential-reading newsletter, Planetary Illuminations, “The planets impel but they do not compel. They create a certain climate within which things may happen, but they do not make them happen. Some things are sealed in Fate – but for many others we are given the gift of choice in order to create a path to destiny.”
Or, as Tarot people sometimes muse, “Fortune may deal the cards, but you decide how to play them.”
I will conclude with the inspiring insights of my friend Diotima, who wrote about the Aug. 7 Lunar eclipse (which — coincidentally?? — fell on astronomical Lughnasadh) and the way that we can participate in this Great Turning.
The lunar eclipse in Aquarius gives us a chance to make some decisions about how we will face these dangers [environmental, political, etc.] and what we will do to mitigate them. It offers visionary insights, and a different way of doing things. It presents us with solutions that involve everyone, and demand group effort.
It invites us to dance on the cutting edge of change and evolution. Do you have your dancing shoes on?
The chart of an eclipse begins to noticeably take effect a week or two in advance of the actual event, and remains in effect for several months to a year afterwards (think of a tide coming in and going out)…
As always, how strongly you will respond to this eclipse depends on your natal chart, but the theme of deep change will be felt by everyone, just in varying degrees. The two weeks between this lunar eclipse and the solar eclipse coming on the 21st — in other words, this month’s waning Moon — will be a particularly good time to work on assessing and releasing fears, and envisioning the world you want. (It’s not a great time for starting new ventures…
What is the most positive and creative future you can envision for our world? What intentions can you hold that will help create a psychic climate for breakthroughs in science, in human understanding, in global spiritual awareness? How can you contribute, even in a small way, to shifting the zeitgeist of our time in the direction of compassion, caring and connection to the Earth…
What does an evolved world look like to you? As we approach the powerful solar eclipse of August 21st, hold that vision clearly in your mind and heart. You are like a string on a guitar — pluck one, and the others begin to vibrate in resonance. Evoke your vision, birth it into the world by keeping your own everyday thoughts and feelings in resonance with it.
As magical people (because I know everyone reading this is), now is the time to settle in, and birth a new commitment to our lives, our purpose, our very incarnation on this sacred planet.
For each of us has come here, with our unique gifts, knowledge, and love, to envision and midwife the epochal transition of humanity.