A FEW DAYS AGO, I ATTENDED a lecture given by Steven Koonin, Chief Group Scientist of British Petroleum, sponsored by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. He
was speaking on “Energy Trends and Technologies”. Quite an articulate speaker, he had an
impressive array of statistics that made the energy future of the planet look both better and
worse than it appears now. Although his statistics might be challenged (I haven’t fact-checked
him), several undeniable factors stood out: First, the problem with availability of energy and the
fuels that bring it from existing fossil supplies isn’t below the ground — it’s above-ground, in the
form of delivery and cost issues (below-ground problems are not far off, though). (In other words, the market is being manipulated in many ways.)
Second, while there are reserves to last for many years into the future (enough time to switch to
alternate sources), the planet can’t afford for us to continue with, as he put it, “business as usual”.
We need to reduce our current usage by at least half worldwide, and at present the rate is going
up 2-3% per year (worldwide). Third, it is unlikely that governments and politicians have the
intestinal fortitude to do what it takes to create the climate for the necessary changes, so the
people must spearhead the effort.
This had the effect of reducing my energy angst. This is not because the situation is not
serious, because it is; rather, it is because somebody could put boundaries on the problem. It’s
not a bottomless, unsolvable, dire, and immediate problem with no solution, as it may seem by
listening to the media or watching gas prices go up with no ceiling in sight.
My point is that “knowns” are always easier to deal with than unknowns. Even if I know
that something is pretty bad, the facts are probably way better than what I can dream up in my
head. This is a theme I can detect in the planets this month. By putting boundaries on our
perceptions and experiences, we can come to terms with whatever we face. In fact, this is a major
step in the healing process recognized and used by many energy healers.
In astrology, we can associate the fog of an unbounded situation with Neptune, while
setting a boundary is always tied to Saturn. We need to use these two planets in tandem to keep
our balance in life, and while they are not tied mathematically (by aspect) to each other in the
heavens right now, they are tied by reception, a subtler bond. In addition, both are highly
activated this month. All we really need to know is that they are tied and foregrounded in August.
As a result, we will stretch our mind to accommodate the lessons of each planet, and to tie them
together with the threads of our lives.
The theme is putting boundaries on situations that have seemed insurmountable, or
finding a way out. This is something we all need right now, after the past few months of
economic and energy shock.
If you recall, I described July as a month “in between”; August brings us a transition to
more substantive experiences — in part by being able to put a boundary on our difficulties. I
don’t know anyone who likes life to be vague and undefined. We hate ambiguity because it
implies a lack of boundary. August brings a clearing of the fog.
There’s plenty of fog to clear. There are other planetary factors that conspire in this
clarifying process, and if it seems that every time something new comes out, it’s bad news, it’s
better than what we can conjure in the absence of facts.
So, this is truly one of those times when bad news is good news. Yes, we’re discovering
the truth about the economy, about the economic policies that have led to where we are now —
but would it be better to remain unaware of how wrong those policies have been, to continue
down the wrong path? It’s better to take a tablespoon of bitter medicine now than a cupful later.
Although it may be hard to see it, there are some factors operating in our favor. Not
everyone is suffering directly, but most people (in the US) are in economic shock. We’re
witnessing a shift in the world of business and corporations, and it’s playing out as, “the bigger
they come, the harder they fall”. General Motors, Indy Mac, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac — all
mega-business entities whose infallibility has been questioned (sound like Martin Luther
challenging the infallibility of the Pope?). The latest is that there’s a major human factor
involved, in the form of unregulated naked short-selling. It’s likely that a trader floated a rumor
that Fannie and Freddy were weak to drive down the stock price artificially. This stimulated their
market, but it created a great worldwide panic. The core issue here and with the entire economic
picture seems to be a lack of boundaries (regulation) as well.
All these are part of the transformation on a grand scale represented in the solar system by
Pluto. Pluto brings the big changes, and at no time is that more felt than when it is in Capricorn.
Now, Pluto is not currently in Capricorn, if you want to get picky about it; but it has been there
this year, and it is soon to return (December 31) to remain for 16 years. If you go to a party and
leave the room for a short time and then return, you didn’t really leave the party. This is how we
should think of Pluto in Capricorn. He hasn’t left the Capricorn party, he’s just taking a break in
the next room.
Stepping Stones Last month was full of quincunxes, overwhelming us with ambiguity, making us hunger
for something definite. The one concrete event we could hang our hats on occurred on July 9, and
that’s when the news about Indy Mac, and the other financial giants came out.
This month continues the string of these awkward contacts, which are neither this nor
that, but they involve other planets. The quincunxes involve different planets and signs, so the
themes are different. However, this could be lost on us when it’s just another vague feeling of
discontent. But, as I said a little further up on the page, we are in a clarifying process, and this
brings development. We know what to do, so the vagueness of last month is reduced
substantially. Most may explain it as preparing for the fall after a long summer. I call it
overcoming generalized angst associated with multiple planetary crisis points.
So, what are these crisis points? How can we make sense of what they’re telling us?
Right now, they may be felt much like the cacophony we hear when we enter a roomful of
people. However, as we get acquainted with the individuals at the event, the din fades as we learn
to hear the voice of the person we are attuned to.
It’s this way with the planets as well. Let’s meet each of the main players: First there are
the heavies: Jupiter, Chiron, Uranus, and Neptune. Then there are the fast-moving trigger planets,
which carry water for the heavies: the Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Mars.
Last Month: Jupiter Peaking, Chiron-Neptune on the Rise If you recall last month, Jupiter was the star, giving us the benefit of its full
expansiveness in the form of optimism and magnification of everything it touches (both joys and
sorrows alike). We felt a build-up of anxiety about the unknowns in our life as Chiron and
Neptune were contacted via quincunxes to the fast-movers prior to the peak of their yearly cycles.
Meanwhile, Uranus was lurking in the shadows getting ready to become a significant factor.
This Month: Jupiter Releasing, Chiron-Neptune Peaking, Uranus on the
Rise In August, Jupiter is past its prime, while the Chiron-Neptune dance is reaching its
crescendo, with Uranus waiting in the wings for its time in the spotlight next month. Jupiter
brought us expansion and magnification; Neptune will bring us clarity.
What about Chiron? Chiron is the Wounded Healer. He knows how to heal because of his
own experiences with pain and woundedness. Wherever he is in the heavens is where our efforts
at healing are focused. Because he is dancing with Neptune, we are looking at the most hidden
and vague — some would say spiritual — of wounds. They exist only on the unseen level, which
means that for some people they don’t exist at all.
Neptune also rules liquid and gaseous substances — oil and natural gas come to mind.
So, we could say that we are discovering our woundedness where these fossil fuels are
concerned. This is felt on all levels, from the personal to the global; whether it is the limitation of
not being able to drive wherever you want or the concern about how we are contributing to global
warming, Neptune and Chiron are being felt.
This suggests that, this month, these issues will be key in our consciousness. It also
means that, while prices may peak in mid-August, there will also be many solutions proposed,
some of which will actually be helpful. One bill has already been introduced to close the
loopholes that have allowed unfettered speculation in oil futures, and the price of oil has already
dropped substantially (but will probably go up again by mid-August).
They’re All Linked. What we learned around July 9 (Jupiter’s peak) is supporting the actions we decide to
take during August. The events of September (at Uranus’s peak) will also support the resolution
of the issues we face. All the planets are linked in our consciousness, and their connections are
reflected in our lives as situations that are related to and dependent on each other. Oil prices are
related to the real-estate bust because speculators are looking for a place to put their money to
make more money at the highest rate possible. Oil prices are high because they are pegged to the
US dollar, which is weak against other currencies because of the huge debt the US is carrying.
We are carrying huge debt because (in part) of the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
What About Us? We can find corresponding events in our own lives — places where all the circumstances
we think about every day converge into a single situation of complex interdependencies. For the
thread of experience in our lives related to Chiron-Neptune, events occur(red) around February 5-10, May 11-14, August 10-15, October 25-31, and November 7-13. Think about what you were
doing in early February (I had to check my appointment diary.) to discover what the thread in
your life is.
More Excitement The culmination of the Chiron-Neptune cycle happens when the Sun opposes each of them. This
year this event is made all the more exciting because they are commingled with eclipses. Eclipses
often bring short, sharp shocks to our experience that abruptly change our focus. These may be
subtle but moving, or quite explicit. An example of this was the Oklahoma City bombing, which
occurred on the day of a lunar eclipse. They are not always negative events, such as the woman
who finds herself pregnant near the day of an eclipse after years of waiting to have a child.
If you recall your grade school science class, you know that an eclipse occurs when one
body blocks our view of another body, casting a shadow on the Earth. While this is most
noticeable with the Sun and Moon, eclipses of other bodies occur from time to time (also called
occultations). An eclipse of the Sun (a solar eclipse) and one of the Moon (lunar eclipse) are
always paired two weeks apart.
An eclipse means that something is missing — the expected light of the Sun (or Moon) is
temporarily interrupted. This permits us to see the world in a different way and open a new
chapter of life.
The eclipses this month are on August 1 and 16, and of the two, the second seems more
important. First, lunar eclipses seem to produce more external events. (Solar eclipses seem to
bring internal changes.) Second, the peaks of the Chiron and Neptune cycles happen very close to
the lunar eclipse (Neptune’s within hours). This means that we will be working through areas
where we need greater clarity in our lives. We’ll be answering the questions, “What do I really
want? Where am I headed? What is my purpose and direction in life? Where can I find meaning?
What must I surrender to?” We have been coping with what we don’t know but feel we need to.
The good news is that we begin to see what the answers are to all these questions at the
time of the peak. However, the eclipse will sharpen what we experience. It will go deeper, and
the answers (and anticipated relief) may trickle in over time instead of come all at once.
However, the answers we get and the relief we gain will be more profound and long-lasting.
This will be true in the world around us as well. Look for mid-August to be a “swift-boat”
period in the US campaign season. There will be many lies and illusions floating at that time,
even as some astounding truths will be revealed.
Mercury and Venus
orbit the Sun within the
Earth’s orbit, and from our
perspective they are never
far from the Sun in the
Zodiac. The Sun, Mercury,
and Venus frequently
trigger the slower moving
planets in rapid succession,
giving us 3 contacts to
work with a major process
in our lives. Although we
can generally say that the
Sun activates, Mercury
brings awareness, and
Venus brings action
through attraction, each can be a powerful activator in its own right. Watch what occurs on the
dates that each planet makes its contact with Chiron and Neptune (see the Planetary Events at the
end of this report).
Mercury and Venus are close traveling companions this month, so their contacts with
anything will be in rapid succession, even simultaneous, as in the case on August 20. They are far
ahead of the Sun at this time, so awareness and attraction precede the Sun’s challenge to take
action. This means we are not so tied to our instincts, but instead will do things based on
Saturn Supports Saturn is the planet that makes us work (or suffer if we don’t). Yet, it also gives us
definition and is the source of the most robust and rewarding successes of our life. Saturn has
plenty of contacts this month, with Venus and Mercury in mid-August, then with the Sun in
September. This will give us more definition in life. We’ll know what we’re dealing with and
how to resolve our difficulties. It will be a relief, even if we have to put in the usual hard work to
get at Saturn’s benefits.
Change Is Good. Change is good; change is good. This mantra must have been invented during a Uranus
contact. Uranus is the Great Surpriser. It also corrects our course. If our course does not need
correcting, it is kind to us. If we need moving, we get a bit more of a jolt. The less stuck we are,
the easier it is.
We’ll find out about our stuckness on the 6th and 23rd as Mars, then Mercury and Venus,
connect with Uranus. These are events of culmination (oppositions), so we can expect to be freed
of confinement and limitations in some way around these dates.
If you have placements in the mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces), you will
be most affected by these contacts.
The Big Picture On a grander scale, Saturn clears its retrograde zone on the 6th. It is still moving toward a trine
(harmonious) contact Jupiter (September 8 and November 21), suggesting that there is a light at
the end of the tunnel. We can still set up a million-dollar lemonade business with the lemons life
is handing out now.
There’s an even bigger process at work now, one that we are beginning to experience in
August. This is the opposition of Saturn and Uranus. Their cycle is one of the most critical to
human development, representing the struggle to find balance between structure/responsibility
and chaos/freedom. These planets have a relatively long cycle — about 45 years. Halfway
through their cycle they oppose each other, bringing a crescendo in our efforts to find balance
between these two vital elements of life.
We start to feel their uneasy alliance as Mars, Mercury, and Venus move through Virgo
and contact first Saturn then Uranus. Each of them carries the energy of Saturn to Uranus in
anticipation of their actual contact on November 4 (US Election Day). This is the first of five
contacts between these planets, and it will make its small beginnings on the 6th . Some of the
ways we may experience it are: young versus old, new versus established, progressive versus
conservative, innovative versus status quo. (In each, the Uranus concept is mentioned first.)
With oppositions, competition and separation are frequently emphasized, and we can
expect the US presidential election to typify these energies.
In our personal lives, we are challenged to let go of some old ideas about how things
(should) work in favor of innovative approaches. For instance, after receiving many publications
in print for many years, I have been surprised with how many are switching to on-line only
availability in the coming months. This is one small change that I can cope with, but there are
others that are more systemic and may require more adjustment. Again, this pattern affects the
mutable signs most (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces). The question we must answer is: What
must I give up to follow my true path?
Finishing Up With Pluto now in Sagittarius again, it gives us a chance to rethink our experiences of the past 15
years. One of things I’ve been thinking about is excesses — my own and those of Western
societies. Sagittarius is a sign of extremes, and Pluto’s turn through Sagittarius this time ended
with quite a bang, since Jupiter was there in its final year. Jupiter’s natural tendency toward
excess is emphasized when it is in Sagittarius (one of the signs of its rulership).
What Can We Do? Not all of us are affected equally by the events that fill the news. Some of us have
prepared well for such swings in the cycles, while others are more exposed. It challenges us to
return to basic values and let go of shallower desires. It raises our conscience and requests that
we join the rest of the world in knowing that all of us must be brought along on the path to a
better life, or none of us will live well. When much of the world’s pollution comes from burning
biomass (wood, cow dung, etc.) for light, heat, and cooking; and a simple solar system for each
village provides a stunning life change in such regions of energy poverty, it is impressed upon us
even more acutely that we are all in it together.
The message I heard in listening to Steven Koonin talk about our energy future is that life
will go on, and there are people who have a pretty good idea of what will and won’t work. There
must be changes, but we have time if we start now and take it seriously. So let’s get those
adaptive juices flowing and carry on!
Significant Planetary Events
Jupiter, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are retrograde. Sun is in rulership. Jupiter is in fall.
New Moon Solar Eclipse
Mars quincunxes Chiron/
Lunar North Node
Mercury conjoins Lunar
Mercury opposes Chiron
Venus trines Pluto Rx
Sun quincunxes Jupiter Rx
Venus enters Virgo (Fall)
Mercury quincunxes Uranus
Mars opposes Uranus Rx
Mercury opposes Neptune
Mars quincunxes Neptune Rx
Mercury trines Pluto Rx
Mercury enters Virgo
Sun opposes Chiron
Rx/conjoins Lunar South
Venus conjoins Saturn
Sun quincunxes Uranus Rx
Sun opposes Neptune Rx
Mercury conjoins Saturn
Full Moon Lunar Eclipse
Venus trines Jupiter Rx
Mars squares Pluto Rx
Mercury trines Jupiter Rx
Mars enters Libra
Venus quincunxes Lunar
Venus quincunxes Chiron Rx
Mercury quincunxes Lunar
Mercury quincunxes Chiron
Sun trines Pluto
Sun enters Virgo
Mercury conjoins Venus
Mercury opposes Uranus
Venus opposes Uranus Rx
Mercury quincunxes Neptune
Venus quincunxes Neptune
Mercury squares Pluto Rx
Mercury enters Libra
Venus squares Pluto Rx
Venus enters Libra
All dates are based on Pacific Time. Blue = harmonious/Red or orange= challenging/intense
Events in bold are more significant.