Sunday, August 24, 2014

Getting Back on Track: New Moon in Virgo 2014

A supercell thunderstorm forms over Chaparral, NM April 2004;
Photo by Greg Lundeen.
New Moon @ 2 Virgo 19'
August 25, 2014
7:13 AM Pacific
4:13 AM Eastern

This month presented some conflict of interest. At its genesis, August contained some rather “light-hearted” astrology as several planets congregated in tropical Leo. One of those planets, Jupiter, will be there for an entire year; but the rest will move on to other signs and this New Moon appears to break up the party—at least for now.

The conflict arises between the need for spontaneous, creative playtime which comes up against the need to address some heavy responsibilities and “karmic duties”. Saturn and Mars conjoin in Scorpio just after the exact conjunction of the Sun and Moon—heralding a change of focus to a more structured and pragmatic gaze.

At its best, the now fading surge of Leonian energy catalyzed new creative directions. Now, as Mars and Saturn conjoin in Scorpio, we’re challenged to see how far that creative juice will carry us.

Leo and Scorpio are naturally in conflict. For Leo, life is to be enjoyed, everything is possible—with Jupiter, optimism abounds and knows no limitations. But limitation is what this Mars and Saturn conjunction is all about.

In Scorpio, that limitation may be the reality of the mortality of all creative progeny. Some things may sound great in the realm of what could be, but can they hold up to the tests and challenges of reality? Can they be funneled into something more compact and realistic?

Cutting away all the fluff and streamlining the baroque is the role of Virgo, the sign holding space for this encroaching New Moon. If we go along and play by the rules, this lunation can help bring about a change of focus, to assist us to structure and channel our enthusiasm more productively.

Mars and Saturn conjoining in Scorpio can help us rid ourselves of procrastination, time-wasting and self-sabotage. As these two rather intimidating planets come together in one of the most intense signs of the tropical zodiac, we have to face the reality of our current path with honesty and humility.

Mars and Saturn conjunctions are inherently intense. They tend to produce tremendous pressure and sometimes aggressive tendencies. Mars meeting Saturn can represent the need to crystallize our will in some way. If we work with it we can use this intense focus to bring solidification and manifestation of our efforts. Perhaps something we've been chiseling away at finally comes into focus. 

While Leo tends to outshine everything else around it, we must look beyond the glamour and into the heart of what we really want to achieve right now. Take the time to check in with yourself and your priorities. Are your activities conducive to the manifestation of your goals and objectives? If not, it’s time to clean up and toss out whatever is getting in the way.

Neptune, one of the most intangible of archetypal constructs, makes a wide opposition to this New Moon. On the one end, Neptune may invite us to face some delusions surrounding our capabilities. On the other end, Neptune stands as a beacon of inspiration—a dream on a faraway cloud that we must work hard to reach.

Mercury, which rules the New Moon, stands powerfully in one of its (two) home signs. Just beyond exact opposition to Chiron, Mercury brings our focus to a higher calling, our responsibility to ourselves and to the larger, global community.

All talent and creativity must ultimately find its way toward humble service. Our gifts are meant to be shared. When our passion or bliss is lost, we often succumb to addictive undercurrents that work as a surrogate creative process.

Whatever stands in your way toward the accomplishment of your divine mission must be dealt with, or else it will consume you, left to manifest as demons that taunt until you awaken to what you’re really here to do. If that sounds a little scary, then you’re getting the message. Saturn and Mars take center stage; sometimes we need a good kick in the ass to get ourselves back on track.

Once you’re back in the swing of things and moving to a steady rhythm and beat, you’ll be unstoppable. Trust that a little hard work pays off in the end. Okay, make that a lot of hard work. But that feeling of accomplishment goes deeper than the ego; it nourishes your soul and acknowledges its greater purpose. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mars Meets Saturn: Inwardly Focused, Outwardly Sensitized

Woman doing Yoga; Photo by Robert
Benjil; March 6, 2011.
By Elizabeth Michaud

Structure is sometimes a difficult concept to embrace in our lives, coming as it does with rules and regulations. Many of us feel frustration or resistance when we confront boundaries, especially if we are driven by inner purpose or passion. Limitation is often accompanied by a deflating sense of powerlessness, and we tend to miss the beneficial lessons of being restricted or reigned in.

Mars (the planet of action) and Saturn (the planet of form) will conjoin in Scorpio on August 25, proceeding the New Moon, making this aspect influential now through the end of the month. What we have is an opportunity to actively manifest our desires, but that may not be what it feels like to many. 

Saturn's gifts do not come easy; we have to work for it. It is in the effort and struggle that we learn, we grow humble, and we strengthen our resilience and our competence.

As astrologer Liz Greene wrote, "The frustrating experiences which are connected with Saturn are obviously necessary as they are educational in a practical as well as a psychological sense. Whether we use psychological or esoteric terminology, the basic fact remains the same: human beings do not earn free will except through self-discovery, and they do not attempt self-discovery until things become so painful that they have no other choice."

Mars in Scorpio is focused and driven by passion. There's a depth of intensity in the astrological atmosphere as Mars transits this fixed water sign, a potential to dig deep into previously feared or avoided areas of our life. 

Willpower is a potent tool right now, making it a great time to set goals or quit bad habits. So much can be healed when brought to the light, and Mars in Scorpio suggests a fearless (and sometimes ruthless) ability to face our shadow material.

But fear and anger may seem to loom as Mars, the forceful warrior, meets Saturn. When we are overly assertive, we inevitably encounter confrontation. Saturn is reminding us of our structure -- the organized civilization we are a functioning part of, the larger environment in which we play a role. 

When we act purely on our own desires, without consideration for others, we create a ripple effect of selfishness. If you feel like you are meeting unnecessary obstacles, ask yourself what good is served by the current course you are on. Saturn wants us to succeed, and this transit is a clue in to where work needs to be done.

The key to using this astrology wisely is to look at what you want to fix in your little world. Mars and Saturn want a project to work on, a problem to solve or a wound to heal. Instincts and precision are major tools at our disposal. 

During a recent yoga class, one of my teachers reminded us to stay "inwardly focused; outwardly sensitized." That seems to be a message of this Mars-Saturn conjunction. How can we contribute to building a healthier structure and releasing toxic baggage? How can we act in integrity, for the greater good?

Elizabeth Michaud is a writer and astrologer based on the New England coast. She is a contributing writer and editor at Planet, and has been studying astrological cycles for 15 years. 

Elizabeth is available for personal readings and can be reached at

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Containing The Vision: Full Moon in Aquarius 2014

Two Perseid meteors visible over the thrones of Kokino,
Aug 12, 2013. Photo by Algorit007, via Wikimedia
Full Moon @ 18 Aquarius 02'
August 10, 2014
11:09 AM Pacific
8:09 AM Eastern

This month’s lunar cycle culminates in tropical Aquarius Sunday August 10. The Sun, naturally in opposition to any Full Moon, is joined by Mercury and the dark Moon Lilith in Leo. Additionally, Saturn in Scorpio makes a square to the Full Moon axis.

Aquarius, ruled by Saturn and Uranus, seeks to establish and revolutionize social structures; but above anything, this sign desires independence and the road less traveled. The Full Moon culminating here brings about a collective desire to question authority, to go one’s own way, and to think outside the paradigmatic box of culture.

However, Saturn’s square to the Full Moon axis tempers this transient, revolutionary streak. In other words, every rebel needs a cause and a deeper sense of purpose. Eccentricity must find its footing within established traditions.

A surge of creativity and a sense of confidence emanates through the Sun, Mercury and Jupiter in Leo. Saturn urges us to use discipline, focus and hard work to bring our creativity forward into tangible forms and to balance confidence with humility and perspective.

This Full Moon may bring to light a creative vision that challenges the status quo without toppling the whole structure. If you’re in need of an answer to any creative frustrations, this Full Moon helps to get things moving in a practical direction—as long as we make the effort and do the work to get there.

In many ways, Saturn’s square to the Full Moon axis brings about a sense of restriction that can feel like a stranglehold on our need for free and uncensored expression. To resolve this, we have to be honest with ourselves and our limitations.

While sometimes uncomfortable, Saturn’s influence assists us in gaining real results from our efforts. Working with Saturn requires integrity and pragmatism. Saturn in Scorpio suggests that the only way for that creative vision to solidify, is to get dirty and work with the process.

We have to dig deep, see what we’re made of and burn away any self-sabotaging behaviors. Check in and attempt to look at what’s holding you back from the successful execution of your goals; it’s probably stemming from within yourself, from fears you may not be aware of.

With the Moon at perigee—it’s closest approach to the Earth, this lunation is also considered a Supermoon. This Aquarian Full Moon will be the largest Supermoon of the year; the Moon appears just slightly larger in the sky than it normally does. That subtle perceptual shift is just enough to amplify the Moon’s power in our personal and collective lives.

When the Moon is extenuated via its perigee, feelings and emotional undercurrents have more prominence and expression.  If the Full Moon touches a sensitive zone in our natal charts, its effects are always magnified, indicating an eruption of awareness from the unconscious realms.

Venus is about to enter Leo on Aug 12 as it teeters on the edge of Cancer.  For three days, until Aug 15, when Mercury enters Virgo, four major planets will be in Leo. This adds more weight and gravitas to ego needs and desires.

We may feel more confident than usual, more generous, playful and care-free. Leo’s childlike nature invites us to play and experiment with our creativity. But with Jupiter in Leo, we must expand consciously without exaggerating or inflating self-importance.

The Full Moon’s square from Saturn, however, reminds us to find a balance between work and play—breaking and following the rules. Too much of one thing and we wind up in trouble and important matters go neglected. Don’t fall into that trap. Let loose and allow yourself some playtime, but don’t lose sight of your responsibilities and larger purpose (destiny).

Also, we must be conscious that this fun Leo energy will be rather short lived this month, as Mars and Saturn team up in Scorpio as the month comes to close. Don’t let that rain on your parade, but keep at least one foot in reality, grounded and aware, prepared for the final exam as the month comes to a close. 

Enthusiasm is helpful; it catalyzes us into places we're usually more cautious to venture into, but enthusiasm without a plan or a strategy is just wasted energy. Saturn and Mars conjoining in Scorpio require a structure to contain our creative vision if it has any chance of lasting beyond a fleeting moment of inspiration.

One final note: the famous Perseids meteor shower will peak on Aug 12-13, just as Venus enters Leo and the Full Moon begins to wane. Unfortunately, that waning Full Moon is still bright enough to outshine much of the show; but the Persieds are well known for spontaneous bursts and explosions that could truly rival the Moon’s encompassing glow.