Moon and Jupiter conjoined

Update August 26th. Look to the Moon tonight, and next to it you will see a beautiful bright shining light that is Jupiter. The Moon is also conjoined to Uranus, but that planet is so far away you won’t be able to see it. But Jupiter’s light is nearly as spectacular as Venus’ sparkling diamond. Look up to the Moon and Jupiter, and realize that together in Aries they represent the willingness to try anything once. There is a risky, devil may care attitude; a sense of adventure, of joie de vivre – zest for life. Be bold and start something new. Why not? And if not now, when?

Full Moon at 1:05 pm EDT Tuesday Aug 24

by Robert Place

The Full Moon is when the Moon is exactly opposite the Sun, reflecting the Sun’s light like a huge mirror in the sky. Since the Sun is in Virgo, the Full Moon will be in the opposite sign of Pisces.

Virgo and Pisces are two energies that have the same goal, but just use different means to get there. Their goal is to bring compassion and healing to the world through service. Virgo, an earth sign, does it though very practical and physical ways, like healthy eating and a daily routine that is structured around healing. Pisces is a water sign, and so the way it goes about bringing compassion and healing to the world is through spirituality and intuitive action. While Virgo embraces a daily routine, Pisces seeks to dissolve all barriers and move into a place of unity and oneness with all things. The sign of the mystic, Pisces can tune into the deeper mysteries of the universe and seek guidance through interior meditation and prayer. While you might find Virgo in a hospital, Pisces is likely to be found in a monastery, hence this lovely picture of Buddha in meditation under the Full Moon.

Pisces, of course, has a dark side. It is often hard to find inner peace and spiritual connection while living in a world of stress, conflict, and fear. So Pisces can take the easier path that includes abusing drugs, alcohol, or fantasy and spend a fair amount of time just spacing out! The rich inner life of a Pisces can seem much more attractive than a world hungering for help. But there are many fun and productive ways for Pisces to tune into the inner world and find a connection to Spirit that can guide and sustain. Art, music, meditation, yoga, prayer, ritual, devotional reading, trance, writing, and moon-bathing are just a few.

To bring balance between your Pisces and Virgo selves use the ability of Virgo to provide you with the structure and routine you need to connect to your divine source in whatever way that most resonates to your Soul. Perhaps this will be starting (or re-committing) to a daily practice of meditation or yoga, attending your house of worship on a weekly basis, taking a long walk in nature each Sunday, or starting a nightly dream journal. Use Virgo’s organizational ability to create the time to raise your own level of spiritual consciousness,  which will help you discover how to bring your unique gifts into service for the world.

Sun moves into Virgo on Monday

Virgo by Linda Holt-Ayriss

This is a very lovely representation of Virgo, the Virgin. I don’t think Virgo is really a Virgin, but rather is pure in her heart and with her intentions. Virgo aims for purity of action, which does at times push into the realm of perfectionism, a problem anyone with some Virgo in their horoscope has to contend with. This desire for purity is part of the reason Virgo has the reputation for being analytical, critical, and picky. But that is only the dark side of Virgo, just like a huge ego is the dark side of Leo. Virgo actually balances the need for personal attention that is exhibited by Leo with a simple desire to be of service to others.

When I think of Virgo I think of my dear friend Andrea, a Virgo, who reminded me that Virgo is an earth sign, and is therefore very connected to the body and nature. This beautiful image captures the earthy quality of Virgo, which comes out in a commitment to care for the body through learning about healthy eating, exercise, and self-care. Virgo is ruled by the planet Mercury, hence her bright mind and curious intellect. She wants to know all about everything that could be helpful to herself and others, and can take in a tremendous amount of information, assimilate what is necessary, and then eliminate the rest. This Mercury influence gives her a fast mind that is geared toward discernment, a quality that can get out of balance and create a nervous self-critical quality. But, if Virgo stays in touch with her physical body through exercise, good nutrition, and time in nature, you could hardly find a more loving and giving sign. Her fault might be in caring for the needs of others more than the needs of herself. So during this month of Virgo energy take time to access your daily routine and make the changes necessary to bring yourself into alignment with your body and physical self care.

Venus and Mars in Libra

Mars, the God of War, and Venus, the Goddess of Love are together in the sky right now, and I hope they are making whoopee!  They have been in the same zodiac sign of Libra the Balancer, since August 8th, getting closer and closer together. Today they are at the exact same point in the sky, they are now One.  Hence my choice of imagery, a wonderful illustration of the God and Goddess completely joined in union. This drawing by Robert Place is part of his lovely Buddha Tarot deck, which I will say more about in the upcoming Moon Letter. This image is sexual in nature. Mars is the yang energy of external power and force; Venus is the yin energy of internal heat and passion. The physical expression of Mars is up and out; Venus is down and in. Venus is found either as the morning star, or as in her current cycle, the evening star, two of the most frequent times to be making love. So, obviously with Mars and Venus conjunct (conjoined), these are wonderful nights to be with your lover. The two planets will be closely united until September 9th, so that should be plenty of time to enjoy the connections with the one you love.

But Mars and Venus represent more than sexual connection. They are also representing the masculine and feminine ways of being in the world. The masculine ways of being are described in terms of external, logical, intellectual, rational, and action that is often power-over. The feminine ways of being are described in terms of internal, intuitive, emotional, related, and empowered means of action. We need both of these forms of action and both of these associated values. We need both yang and yin. Right now it seems as if the masculine is too strong as seen by the greed, competition, and fighting that is going on. We need the balance of the feminine energy of relatedness and compassion so that we can work to heal the wounds so evident in our own lives, our community, and the world.

Watch Mars and Venus set in the western sky about an hour and half after sunset over the next week. Venus will be the bright sparkling diamond who is setting first, and Mars will be a ruddy red following close behind. Saturn will set soon before them, so you might see him as well. A great program that will help you find the stars and planets and constellations is www.stellarium.org. You can program it to your city’s latitude and longitude and find the constellations and planets. And you can move the clock forward to find out when the planets will rise and set on any particular day in your area. Or, you can check out  the on-line Farmer’s Almanac, from which the rising and setting times for Chattanooga are listed below. I just purchased the hard copy of 2011 Farmer’s Almanac and am really enjoying the star lore and zodiac information.

Sun 7:05 A.M. 8:24 P.M.
Moon 6:01 P.M. 3:14 A.M.
Mercury 8:55 A.M. 9:02 P.M.
Venus 10:49 A.M. 10:15 P.M.
Mars 10:47 A.M. 10:23 P.M.
Jupiter 9:53 P.M. 9:58 A.M.
Saturn 9:55 A.M. 10:03 P.M.
Uranus 9:44 P.M. 9:47 A.M.
Neptune 8:17 P.M. 7:11 A.M.
Pluto 4:48 P.M. 3:08 A.M.

Perseid Meteor Showers Thursday Aug. 12

The Perseid meteor showers peak on Thursday night, August 12th .and the morning of August 13th, showing up to 60 meteors an hour. Meteor showers as caused by debris that is shed by comets as the travel in their orbit. If we pass them in their orbit, we see that debris as it streaks into our atmosphere, burning up as it falls to the ground. Sometimes called a shooting star (if it streaks across the sky) or a falling star (if it falls to earth) they are wonderful to watch. The meteor showers are named after the constellations from which they appear to occur, in this case, the constellation Perseus. If you miss the peak, you can still see some meteors until August 22nd.

To view the meteor shower, go outside around midnight, after the Moon has set, and the constellation Perseus has risen. Perseus can be found in the northeast, and is named after that famous Greek hero who slay the Gorgon Medusa, and rescued the beautiful Andromeda, a constellation you can find very near to his. (Two recent movies featured Perseus, “Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief” which was very fun,  and “Clash of the Titans” which was horrible, in my opinion.) It is best to have a lawn chair, so you can watch the sky in the direction of Perseus, without straining your neck. Make a relaxing night of it.

New Moon in Leo Monday August 9th

Update August 9th

Leo by Eric Williams

The Moon moves rather quickly and so only stays in a zodiac sign for about 2 1/2 days. A New Moon isn’t just when the Sun and Moon are in the same zodiac sign, it’s when they are in the same degree of the sign, in other words, really, really close (known in Astrology as an exact conjunction ). The Sun, since it stands still, is very regular in its appearance in the different zodiac signs, which is why you know what sign the Sun is in each year by the date. The Sun is in Leo from July 22st to August 22nd. So that means that this New Moon occurs in Leo. At 7:23 pm EDT on Sunday August 8th the Moon moved into the sign of Leo. On Monday at 11:08 pm EDT the Moon reaches 17 degrees of Leo, bringing it to the exact conjunction with the Sun. Each zodiac sign has 30 degrees, so this New Moon occurs pretty much right in the middle of the Sun’s Leo journey.

New Moons are times of new beginnings. A new birth of energy that is expressed in the zodiac sign where the conjunction occurs. This month is all about Leo. I discussed Leo in my last Moon Letter. In it I said that Leo is symbolized by the Lion – powerful, ferocious, fearless. At it’s best Leo is represented as a King/Queen, a ruler who uses her power for the good of all. She is confident, strong, smart, creative, and persistent is her unwavering action for what is right for her community. At its worst, Leo is power-hungry and self absorbed, and uses its power for personal gain with little regard for the consequences of its actions on others.

It is up to each person to direct her personal energy in life. We are not helpless, passive beings, certainly not when the Sun and Moon are in Leo, one of the most powerful signs in the zodiac. We need to live a life of conscious decision and wise choice. During a Leo New Moon it reminds us that it is with our full power that we can use our energy to start something good and creative, and generous. Or we can use our power to push our personal agenda with greed and dominance. I can only hope that the light and bright energy of Leo moves you towards the creation of something new that will be fun, playful, and enlivening. Feel the power of Ego, and then direct it towards something good, that benefits more than just yourself.

Venus, Mars, and Saturn in the Sky

Update August 7th, 2010

We have the triangle of planets setting in the west through August, a New Moon in Leo on Monday August 9th, and the Perseids meteor shower on Thursday August 12th. Venus, the sparkling diamond, is the most beautiful and brightest light in the sky, aside from the Moon. It is no coincidence that the two most beautiful lights in the sky are considered feminine, or yin, energies in astrology. Watching Venus in the night sky is a real pleasure, second only to watching the Moon. To find Venus, look to the west after sunset. In August she is pretty high in the sky. To find her think of the the eastern horizon as 12 on a clock, and the western horizon as 6; then Venus is about at 5 o’clock in the early evening, setting lower in the west a few hours later . She is the brightest light you will see in the sky and she really sparkles. Venus has been in the evening sky since March 2010 and will continue to be visible in the evening light till the end of October, when she passes between the Earth and the Sun. She will reappear as the Morning Star in November.

Venus, Mars, and Saturn are all together in the sky, and will be in the zodiac sign Libra from Sunday, August 8th until September 9th. Depending on how clear the night sky is, you might be able to see them. On Saturday, they make a triangle in the sky, with Venus the lower point, and Mars, an orange color to the upper left, and Saturn, more golden, to the upper right.  These three planets move at different speeds, so their relationship will change as August progresses. On Sunday, the waning crescent Moon will join them. The planets will be below the Moon, and they will all set about 2 hours after the Sun sets. The New Moon is on August 9th, invisible at first, since it is so close to the Sun that it can not be seen. But as the Moon moves further from the Sun you will see the beautiful sliver of the crescent, that I call the High Priestess Moon. So from August 11-13, the waxing crescent Moon will be seen with Venus, Mars, and Saturn, as she moves to join them in the zodiac sign Libra.

So what does it mean, astrologically speaking, to have the two yin energies, Moon and Venus, and two yang energies, Mars and Saturn together? I’ll address that in another post.