NOTE: In this early edition of my monthly forecasts, I was drawing inspiration directly from Austin Coppock’s book 36 Faces which covers the topic of decans. For more in depth understanding of the decans and how they are used in astrological interpretation, please visit http://austincoppock.com .
Note: In our solar system, the Sun is the central point around which the planets orbit. From the Earth perspective, we cannot survive without sunlight; it is the light that nourishes our bodies, and the spotlight under which we act out our entire lives. Given the Sun's importance, we've learned to articulate time around its trends. The Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Fall Equinox, and Winter Solstice all relate back to the felt shifts of shining brilliance the Sun shares with us in this lonely universe. And so it is from Earth's perspective that I write these astrological forecasts in time with the Sun's journey through the tropical zodiac.
Leo is the only sign of the zodiac ruled by the Sun. It is a fixed fire sign; think of a spotlight, a hearth, a campfire, a candle, a glow from within, or the still hot sun on a cloudless day. Those who are born under this sign are typically compelled to prove who they are; they are expressive and engaging and are not afraid of being authentic. Sometimes this can be overdone and we get narcissists and show-offs. Other times, we discover Leo folx whose sunny disposition captivates us with a warmth and embodied heart. Described by the ancient astrologer Vettius Valens as, "free, fiery, temperate, intellectual, kingly, stable, noble, upward-trending," Leo can often put a spotlight on the various ways we show pride in our authenticity. And as the Sun enters its home sign this year, everyone gets the opportunity to explore the Lion's passionate expression.
In true Leo form, this season is quite the drama. We'll see two eclipses, two planetary stations, and many major aspects highlight our skies. On the world stage, these scenes will play out dramatically and will inspire a media mania. In our personal lives, many of us will feel the heat both internally and externally. Inherent in the rising temperatures is the need or desire to separate ourselves from the intensity of it all. Some of us will find solace in the heat by boldly rising up, perhaps in the name of a belief system or in spite of someone. Others of us will go to great lengths to avoid the sun's harsh rays and turn away from what is revealed under them. Neither is inherently wrong, but both will definitely add more fuel to the already raging fire. This is a season of dynamic change that we can neither escape nor fully comprehend in the moment. My advice is to take this opportunity of awakened consciousness to sit with the discomfort of change, fire, and allow your self to bend and melt in order to release yourself from whatever toxins may have accumulated within.
If you are available for this kind of detached awareness, then I invite you to meditate, journal, practice yoga, craft, garden, whatever gets you out of your feelings/thoughts and into your body. Reflective physical expression of energy is the key to this Leo Season. Let thoughts come and go, let your awareness of these thoughts allow a release of mental toxins, and let the release create space for you to step into your unique shining brilliance.
Jul 22-Aug 1 | The First Decan of Leo | Standing Under the Beams
As the Sun enters its home sign on July 22nd, the intensity and flavor of the upcoming lunar eclipse becomes palpable - like a dense humidity that adds to the heat of the burning sun. This is, in part, due to the fact that as the Sun enters Leo, it sees every sign based aspect from Leo's perspective, lighting the major themes for the season. To add to our awareness-experience, the Sun also finds a visitor in its domicile: Mercury in Leo readying itself for retrograde. The Sun's reception with Mercury amplifies our analytical faculties, giving us all an opportunity to check in with where we are. Of course, most of us will be feeling mentally fried even if we are unwilling to admit it. And though the Sun's co-presence in Leo may give our mercurial abilities a little perkiness until Mercury stations retrograde, that perkiness is kind of like stepping on hot coals. The Sun doesn't really help our cogitation, but rather brings out an even more expressive and dramatic voice in us. It's not that our thoughts become clearer, but that we now feel a strength in our roar.
On July 24th, as Mercury comes to an almost complete stop, we see Venus oppose Neptune in the Virgo-Pisces axis.
Venus and Neptune naturally incline us to soften and merge, but in their opposition there can be a sense of incompleteness and an uncomfortable pressure to find total pleasure. Venus, especially, will have us looking to details and plans in order to ensure perfect joy. The reality is that we likely won't find total pleasure, and in releasing ourselves from the need to control happiness, we can more fully expand on this brief moment to cool down. You see, in some ways, we can use this opposition positively to engage with the cool qualities of Virgo and Pisces in order to temper our desire to express and aggress - picture yourself listening instead of speaking, absorbing instead of separating, and reflecting instead of reacting. Helpful activities may include taking a cool bath, eating fresh vegetables, and finding a sense of calm and appreciation in the details of a nature walk. If you find a cooling tactic that works for you, take note of it and return to it throughout the Sun's trip in Leo. This is one of the better opportunities to learn a mitigating strategy. Aside from the opportunity to temper the rising heat, this is also a time to avoid any classically analytical or technical activities. Venus in Virgo may inspire us to move towards detail work, but it is better to do so only as a practice in imagination and creativity. In no way is this a good time to work with finances, legal documents, or any other practical efforts.
On the following day, July 25th, the Sun sees a trine to Chiron and a square to Uranus.
Chiron brings an awareness to our sensitivities and Uranus enjoys shaking things up in order to reveal truths. In this way, we are likely to awaken to a new sense of self - a part of ourselves which we need to put out into the world, and yet we don't know how. The combination of these two aspects is irritating - something happens or comes up that inconveniently shakes us, forcing us to respond. With Mercury's station and the nearing lunar eclipse, energy is building, and it hasn't been totally realized yet. If we can gather our focus long enough to observe what is happening around us and within us, then we have the opportunity to harness it and prepare ourselves for breakthrough. Of course, this requires strength and patience. Consider the yoga pose "peaceful warrior" which requires flexibility of body and mind to open the heart center and ground into a sense of personal stability. The important take-away is to learn how to support ourselves from within, and to see our vulnerability or weaknesses without judgment. Of course, under the fog of Mercury's station, this can result in a cacophony of voices screaming out to be heard and understood and possibly an undue interest in sharing our two cents. Another potentiality, if we have the awareness and willingness towards it, is to reflect deeply on what it means to be truly you and how you can show up for yourself as opposed to relying on others for that kind of confidence-nourishment. This can be a brilliant day to step into a new form of authority within the self by taking space/time to practice some conscious awareness; if this is unavailable to you, then my advice is to take a deep calming breath when/if reactive thoughts and impulses come into your sphere.
On July 26th, Mercury stations and turns retrograde.
The trickster puts a pause on our mental abilities and spotlights decisions made the day before. We may feel particularly swept up in the results or potential results of our actions. For better or worse, whatever comes up will be weaved into the eclipses and the rest of the season.
Following Mercury's retrograde, the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse climaxes on July 27th at 4:20 PM ET @ 4 Degrees in Leo and Aquarius.
This lunar eclipse is a particularly heated one - think of a wildfire tearing through the forest of your mind, or the kind of pressure and heat it takes to turn coal into diamonds. It is a culmination of the eclipses of the past 12 months and it comes with a bang. On one hand, our minds are turned towards the revelations that came up as Mercury stationed retrograde over the last few days. These revelations are centered around embodiment of authenticity and self, and what it means to be confident, to be brave, and to find real nourishment for who we are. On the other hand, we have an awareness of old belief patterns that may have been idealized and pushed on us in such a way that squelched our capacity for individuality. It seems that we want to move from old paradigms of belief towards honest integration of the identity into the world. Of course, Uranus is in the middle of these two polarities, and forces us to turn our attention towards the past and the process of letting go. It's not necessarily an easy reflection, but rather a jolt of activity which requires us to find our footing as we stumble across old ideals and belief patterns.
Following the totality of the lunar eclipse, Venus and Pluto will form an exact trine. This aspect has potential to be helpful and cooling. It gives us the opportunity to deep dive into our own underworlds, and to find beauty in the shape of who we are as wholly imperfect beings. In some ways, that which is revealed during the eclipse, can be integrated in an internal shift. That inner shift can create vibrations in the external realm, allowing us to blossom into a truer version of who we are. That said, Pluto's involvement can bring up fears and Venus in Virgo can point towards criticism... it is just as likely for us to feel a desire to control our less attractive components and bury them under a pursuit of perfection.
In any case, it is best not to act on fear, impulse, anger, or anything really. This lunation isn't one to act on at all, though it may force us to. If you have the time and space, I suggest clearing your calendar of all but necessary activities, and making mental space for reflection and awareness. Of course, life is rarely that easy to work with, and with Uranus' involvement things may come up unexpectedly - so if the day is filled with things to do, try to take it one step, one breath at at a time. It may be easy to jump to conclusions and make dramatic decisions, but in reality this eclipse is adding fuel to an already massive fire - it's better to find actions and thoughts that cool you down rather than pump you up. Once we get into the middle of August, we'll have so much more clarity around this moment. Until then, it's best to act conscientiously and err on the side of reflection.
If you have been making note of the Aquarius-Leo eclipse pattern over the last year, consider this lunation to bring your experiences to crystallization in an unexpected way. If you haven't been following along, think back to events that transpired from February 2018 and August 2017. If you can't recall anything specific, I understand because sometimes it's hard to pinpoint exactly how the eclipses may affect us personally. So if you'd like to learn more about your personal experience with them, send me a message with your birth time, date, and location and I'll write you a report on the personal topics that may have been associated with this eclipse pattern.
As the first decan of Leo comes to a close, Mars sees its second square to Uranus this year. The first Mars-Uranus square occurred in May 2018 after the two planets ingressed into Aquarius and Taurus respectively. A sudden jolt of action may have come up at that time, or perhaps a sense of awareness around something you hadn't expected. Now, is the second act of this three act play. And because the square is so close to the eclipse points, it adds extra heat, drama, and sensitivity to whatever has culminated for you at this point. As stated previously, it is best not to react if you don't have to - instead find ways to cool down and think before you do anything too rash.
Aug 2-Aug 11 | The Second Decan of Leo | The Heart of the Sun
The Sun's entrance into the second decan of Leo on August 2nd provides a significant shift in tone. There is a definite sense of relief and release as the moon begins to wane and Mercury's speed picks up in its retrograde motion. This is a time of revelation and witness as we begin to parse out what occurred last month. It's not necessarily easier to handle, but there is something satisfyingly productive about being able to understand and grasp the elements of this heated season.
To kick us off, on August 3rd retrograde Mars sees a sextile to retrograde Chiron, giving us one of our first opportunities to reflect.
This calls us back to the Sun's trine to Chiron a week ago. If we are willing, we can use this as an opportunity to incorporate productive resolutions to the issues that may have arisen at that time. It's likely this will require us to break away from internal conflicts - to let go of whatever ideas or mental situations may be holding us back. It isn't ever easy to leave behind familiarized thought patterns, but sometimes it has to be done in order to step into a better developmental process. Consider this an act of independence and authority as opposed to turning your back on something. If you are inspired to move towards a more authentic self, but aren't feeling safe to step into that potentiality, then you should spend time going through and understanding your fears. The more you can objectify a fear, the less power it has over year, and the better able you will be to respond when fear comes up.
A day later, on August 4th, we feel a sense of awareness under the Last Quarter Moon in Taurus which is applying to a square with Jupiter, and co-present with Uranus.
This is a moment when the culminating energy of the Lunar Eclipse the week prior begins to really integrate itself into our lives. There is a quality of crisis at this point, but it isn't necessarily as dramatic or intense as the eclipse is. Naturally it will be related to the eclipse, but this is a point of resolution-oriented awareness, not a point of blinding shock. To add, the Sun's and moon's applying squares to Jupiter gives an extra boost of healing power and emotional release. This is a beautiful moment to feel into the vibrational ripples, to begin grounding into what has been crystallized since the lunar eclipse.
On August 6th, a boost of helpful energy comes along as Venus enters its home sign of Libra and applies to a trine with Mars.
Libra draws out the relational qualities in Venus. This is a great time to consider the ways we interact with intimate friends and partners, possibly in response to the eclipse's effects, or just because that's where our energy is drawn. Venus' entrance into Libra is also like a light at the end of the tunnel as it speaks to the near finish of the larger pattern of challenging aspects, retrogrades, and planetary placements that have occurred this year. Venus will, in fact, turn retrograde in October, going from Scorpio back into Libra, but this isn't necessarily as difficult as it could be because Venus is strengthened in Libra. Plus during this retrograde, we'll see Mars finally leave Aquarius, as well as Jupiter's entrance into Sagittarius - two happy moments, I'd say.
Until that time, we'll get by with a Venus-Mars trine in Libra and Aquarius on August 7th. Venus and Mars, though they have opposing intentions, get along relatively well. Venus in Libra prefers socializing, flirting, and generally enjoying the beauty found in relationships, whereas Mars in Aquarius identifies with defending ideals and separating from those with different opinions. In both cases, the planets have a notable social bent and enjoy sharing ideas. And in support of sharing, Venus is actually significantly stronger than Mars, which softens the separating and defensive qualities the red planet is prone to. This is a great opportunity to learn how our beliefs and social aggravations can coexist with other people and the beliefs and baggage they may have. In fact, because of Mars' involvement with the recent lunar eclipse, it seems that this may be a healing opportunity to open ourselves to possible new belief systems that better support who we are as individuals.
On the same day as Venus' trine to Mars goes exact, Uranus turns retrograde, and the impact of our reflections begin to hit home.
Uranus' station has been heavily involved with the energy of Leo season, causing disruptions, revelations, and reversals. As this electrifying planet turns retrograde in Taurus, we are drawn inward to find the truths it has been trying to express to us. This is not an opportunity to do anything besides engaging with awareness - awareness and listening and peaceful interactions are all supported by the Venus-Mars trine, by the way. Additionally, the day of the station and retrograde will highlight themes for the duration of Uranus' apparent backward movement. Take note of what occurs on this day, and see how it develops and changes and teaches you over the coming months. It's possible that something is revealed at this time that will play a larger role later on.
To add to the impact of reflection, Mercury enters the heart of the Sun on August 8th during its inferior conjunction.
This is the moment during the Sun's walk through Leo when clarity really starts to take shape. Mercury's exact alignment with the center of the Sun is a powerful moment of awareness and insight. It is typically related to the start of a new cycle between Mercury and the Sun, during which point one or several new thought seeds are planted for development over the next few months. This moment is called an inferior conjunction because Mercury is literally behind the Sun, so we cannot see it. This relates back to the imagery of seeds - we don't see them while they germinate underground. It's not until much later that they are visible - and the same is true of this aspect. We don't really know what is being planted in our minds, but there is a definite sense of insight even if it isn't quite ready to be expressed. My suggestion for this alignment is to take a few moments to meditate - even if it's only five minutes, and you are simply laying on your bed as thoughts come and go - sometimes that's all we need, a moment to slow down and take a breath and then suddenly a download is available for us. This could also be a good opportunity to free-write ideas and goals you have for the rest of the year; if anything this can be a nice grounding activity as the high temperature of the eclipse season begins to cool down.
In support of grounding and reflecting, Venus sees an exact square to Saturn on August 9th.
Both planets are happy and strong in their home signs of Libra and Capricorn, making this aspect a little more dynamic. Fortunately, Venus is the stronger of the two, and leads Saturn towards a gentler and more harmonious energetic. Saturn is still focused on pragmatic efforts, but Venus' touch draws out some of the beauty and enjoyment that can go into hard work, even if that is only on a superficial level. Because this is a tense aspect, there may be some feelings of dissonance around what we want to do versus what we must do. It really depends on other placements in your natal chart, but in general this aspect has a slightly more positive bent.
For instance, hard work can relate to many different areas of life including relationships, business ventures, home-making, etc. Just because it's hard doesn't mean it won't yield a desirable reward. This may also be an opportunity to discuss ideas with others, and to reflect on and even celebrate the efforts invested up to this point. A potentially negative display of this aspect could relate to what others think of your efforts thus far, and the feeling that you have to keep up with the Jones'. Even in that scenario, however, measurement of progress is still a useful part of any long-term project or investment and can help you gauge where you are.
On August 11th, all of the reflections and observations made up to this point tie into the Solar Eclipse in Leo at 5:57 AM ET @ 18 Degrees.
Just before the Solar eclipse becomes exact, Mercury sees a square to Jupiter which in some ways wakes up our minds to the many ways we can embody the changes and insights made over the last few weeks. All of these ideas then get planted under the darkness of the Solar eclipse. It's still not very clear how everything will work out, but there is a felt sense of potential. This eclipse will take much more time to unfold, up to 6 months later when we see a culmination in the early part of 2019. It may be an opportune time to set intentions, but be aware that the intentions will become warped and shift shapes later down the road. In my opinion, it's better to float on the sea of change than it is to forcefully move against it - we will still get caught up in its forward motion, but we'll be that much more exhausted.
As the Sun wraps up its time in the second decan of Leo, we get a moment of pause like the quiet before a storm or the eerie darkness under the totality of a solar eclipse. It's a time to be quiet, to listen, and to prepare yourself for what's to come.
Aug 12 - Aug 23 | The Third Decan of Leo | A Bloody Sunset
Upon the Sun's shift into the third decan of Leo, the heat of the season really starts to hit us with Mars' ingress back into Capricorn. This is a moment to consider the why behind everything - to really get to the root of what's been going on over the last few months and to address any changes that need to be made before we move forward. In particular with Mars' return to Capricorn, we think back to early May - what themes surfaced then that are relevant now? In what new ways have we learned to articulate desire and drive? What areas of life are still leeching energy from us? Since Mars is now co-present with Saturn, there's a significant possibility for burn-out - wanting to go the extra mile and being met by limitations. This isn't an easy placement to work with, but it is manageable given Saturn's cool managerial nature. The key is to set boundaries for yourself before boundaries are set for you. In some cases that won't be possible, and the best thing to do is to use the frustration and the drive in as much a productive way as possible. The last thing you need is to do a rush job and hurt yourself or someone else in the process. For some this may mean taking space from other people to do what you need to do. For others it may mean finding an outlet for any extra aggression that may well up within. And in a really positive scenario, it may mean that you finally find the structure necessary to stand up for yourself. Whatever may happen in your life, you'll likely be able to identify it as the Mars-Saturn energy since this is a hot and heavy planetary arrangement, but if you'd like to get some perspective on it, send me a message with your birth time, date, and location and I'll write you a summary on Mars' impact in your chart.
On August 19th, Mercury stations and turns direct - about one week following Mars' ingress into Capricorn.
The week leading up to Mercury's station and direct motion will create an added slow-down. This is likely incite whatever problematic issues have come up with the Mars ingress. We may be communicating with an added spiciness in our language which can easily confuse or corrupt a peaceful situation. To add, Mercury will actually be in the 2nd decan of Leo, reviewing the issues that had come up with the two eclipses and getting awfully close to the North Node, inflating a sense of boastfulness and volume in the trickster's communications. So though it may be challenging, it's best not to over-express, and to keep thoughts and ideas on the ground level. This is a time better suited to looking down and getting work done than it is to share or boast what's been done so far.
As Mercury turns direct on August 19th, it sees a sextile to Venus which may add a little boost of sweetness to its direct motion. This aspect will make it easier to share soothing words with others, and may give us the opportunity to make peace. Of course, the catch here is that we have to be open and willing to engage in a peaceful way - if not, it may be just as easy to isolate others in pursuit of self-promotion. That said, I wouldn't try to schedule a peace treaty on a day like this - or any important relational task, as Mercury's station tends to stir up dust rather than promote clarity (even when it stations direct). Of course, a week or so following Mercury's turn towards direct motion will prove to be significantly stronger for mental activities, but by then we'll be in Virgo season.
In addition to Mercury's station, Jupiter and Neptune form a trine which offers a softer exit out of Leo season. This may be related to the grand water trine we had felt earlier in Cancer season, but only a momentary recall to that emotive time. I would use this opportunity, on August 19th and the day before, to find gentleness towards self - like a cool glass of water after a hard day's work.
Considering everything that has taken place throughout the Sun's journey through Leo, the sight of Virgo season is a welcome one. We will need the cooling and analytical qualities that Virgo provides in order to really make sense of and find the usefulness in everything that's arisen thus far. Until we reach Virgo's time, however, we'll have to hold still under the Sun and apply any cooling and reflective measures to ensure we don't get burned.