The Light in August: Your Monthly Horoscope

Dear Friend and Reader:

August 2011 is one of those months when it will pay to know a little astrology — or even a little bit about the current astrology. The planetary movements of the next four weeks present a number of challenges, just as many opportunities and an occasion to peer into the future. There also seems to be an extended window in which to address certain matters of the past, and to work with the question of emotional balance.

Photo by Eric Francis.

We think we’re a mentally driven society, but I suspect that’s only on the surface. Deeper in, we are moved and in a sense stalked by our own emotions. That’s why we’re so easily manipulated. Since Mercury is retrograde for nearly the whole month of August, let’s consider some of what that suggests — then go into the deeper emotional material.

Mercury starts its retrograde Aug. 2 in Virgo. Because it’s in the early degrees of Virgo (at the beginning of the sign), it will promptly retrograde back into Leo, where it has spent much of July. The image is one of moving inward through layers. We start by questioning some idea of who we are (Mercury stationing retrograde in Virgo, the sign of ideas) and we gradually backtrack toward what seems like an answer, but what is in truth really a deeper inner reality, represented by Leo.

Leo is a unique sign in that it’s ruled by the Sun rather than a planet. Only one other sign is not ruled by a planet — Cancer, which is associated with the Moon. The Sun has a special role; it’s the center of the solar system, around which all the other planets orbit. Every bit of light that we see from planets, the Moon or on our own planet comes from the Sun. Its dual role is a gravitational center, as well as an energy source. When a tree grows, that energy comes from the Sun. When you burn coal, that energy came from the Sun. When you express yourself, you’re using solar energy to do so, and that’s the basic meaning of the Sun in astrology.

Photo by Eric Francis.

Most of us don’t identify ourselves as creative people. That’s another way of saying that we tend not to identify with the Sun in our charts, or rather, we can get distracted by the personality represented by our lunar placement. It’s intriguing that most people don’t know what sign their Moon is in — if you like astrology, I suggest you find out. The ‘aha’ will validate astrology for you, and give you a whole new element to work with.

Mercury retrograde into the sign of the Sun is a way of saying that we’re exploring for, searching out and feeling for the expression of our solar nature. Remember — this isn’t an idea; it’s not a story. It’s an atomic reaction that’s burning so hot, one can be blinded looking into it for a few moments even at our distance. As you feel for this energy, you will feel for how you want to express yourself. Don’t just think about it — reach in and pull out the expressive energy and give it away, just like the Sun does.

As you’re doing this, be aware that something else is happening. For most of August, Mars will be in the sign Cancer. It arrives Aug. 3, just a day after Mercury stations retrograde. That suggests some confusion between the mental level (our ideas about things) and our emotions (energy moving on a sub-verbal level). So remember that. Then Mars does something pretty fancy: it moves along what’s called the cardinal cross — aspecting all those planets in the early cardinal signs (Uranus in Aries, Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Libra, among others).

Mars is highly energetic, impetuous, hot, passionate and at times raging and confrontational. Be careful not to pick fights over what turn out to be misunderstandings or incorrect interpretations. Indeed, get your facts right; wait a while and see if you can get to a new level of understanding. Try to see where the people around you are coming from. And be careful when you’re driving. We all know not to drive drunk, but I would add to that under the influence of any alcohol at all, or when you’re overtired or upset. Stack the deck in your favor. And please don’t even ride as a passenger with someone who is out of sorts.

Photo by Eric Francis.

The generous perk of this astrology is opportunities for maturity. Moments when we go out of balance in any way are great times to learn why it happened, what was going on below the boards, and what we can do about it. There are other perks: if you slow down and don’t try to do too much (almost always good astrological advice with Mercury retrograde), there is a lot of passion and creative mojo in these Mars aspects. If you remember that the opposite of depression is expression, you may find yourself in a creative zone like no other.

As for peering into the future: Mars in particular is tracing the regions of the zodiac that are the most involved with the 2012 phenomenon. When that happens, we get a taste of the energy of the future months or years in advance. This works on the personal level and the global level. If you pay careful attention, you will be able to see and experience what is developing. We will, of course, be covering these developments on every channel as they happen.

Yours lovingly,
Eric Francis

Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope – August 2011
Revised and Updated! Click for Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Aries (March 20-April 19) — We have yet to account for how individual emotional turmoil ripples into the world around us, affecting everyone and everything. One step in the evolution of humanity is each of us learning to handle our emotions. I have an old friend who believes that everyone — everyone — needs anger management training. The movement of Mars this month, through one of the most sensitive angles of your solar chart, suggests that you want to be a master of your emotions rather than a slave to them. In all sincerity, both are possible; the more probable of the two will depend on what you want. This is all about what you want, and by that I don’t mean a new surfboard — I mean your definition of happiness. Let’s start with your domestic life; what is your idea of a home that sustains you? What energy do you put out, and what do you take back in? What is it that makes you feel safe? Notice whether events that unfold this month are like or unlike what you want. Notice how you conduct yourself with others; notice what is motivating you as carefully as you can. While you’re observing, I will say this: there is little use for anger, except when expressed as a matter of fact, with the intention of awareness and healing. We all get angry. We have a lot to be angry about, and rage is driving most of the world’s biggest problems. Make sure you use the stuff constructively.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — I know that lots of political movements the past few decades have tried to claim pride as a good thing, as something healthy. In a sense it is, if you think of it as an alternative to shame. But I’m not sure that it is. Pride seems to be more of a form of insulation against the complexity of emotion. This would count for both the emotion of ‘proudness’ and one’s pride being hurt. They’re really not that different. One of the strongest qualities of your astrology this month involves an investigation of emotions that seem loud and bold on the surface, but are in truth sublime and intricate on a deeper level. Yet to discover this, you will need to ask yourself certain questions, and be content, for a while, that you don’t have the answers. Part of having a strong mind is being able to live with mystery for a while. This thing we call the ‘ego’ loves to rush in with an answer, before questioning much of anything, and your charts are rather packed with that right now. Yet just below the answer is a question. To get to there, you will need to follow your curiosity: for example, about why you feel a certain way, or why your reactions to certain people, events and emotions are so strong. The questions may lead to more questions for a while. That’s a good sign. Be as patient as you can be under the extremely restless astrology of August. There is a beautiful moment when understanding will come.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — When seeking money, remember your ethics. When working for advancement in your career, remember your ethics. I say these things knowing we live in a world where the concept of ethics seems outmoded and even useless. I assure you, it’s not. Whatever the current trend in thought, no matter how popular, useful and effective it may be to forego questions of authenticity, or matters of right and wrong, there is such a thing as karma. We are all subject to it. I don’t think you’re an unethical person; rather, I see a spell of astrology where the ends might seem to justify the means. They do not. How you go about something, from the specific methods you use, to the motivation that drives you, is every bit as meaningful as what you accomplish. Indeed, the two are so closely related as to be the same thing: if you notice you’re being driven by some form of ambition, you might want to check your goal and make sure that it’s really something you want. For an extended phase of your life, you are being granted a mantle of power. You have an aura of authority, and that connotes responsibility. I suggest you live like your telephone is tapped and like you’re being followed around by a television crew. Live as if you are actually accountable for your actions. You are. You are also accountable for the constructive, creative and sincere deeds to your credit, but on that particular theme, I suggest you let others do the talking.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You will need to watch your tendency toward what some call passive aggression during the next few weeks. There’s nothing passive about aggression in any form, but it can wear many disguises, and have many motives. One motive would be insecurity. The planets this month are a setup for attempting to convert an extra-fiery temperament mixed with lack of confidence into conflict, which would be a purely self-destructive combination. The way to recast this into a creative equation is to be in contact with your desires, also with your sense of entitlement. They are two different things, though typically experienced as one. The first thing to do is sort them out. It’s absolutely vital that you be in touch with your desires; that you discover what you want. And it’s equally vital that you experience desire itself as a source of pleasure, without resorting to a sense of entitlement. Of its own, wanting is healthy — especially if you can find in your desire the authentic need to share and nourish others. Yet when you retreat into obsession with having, with achieving or with conquering, or with a drive for getting attention at any cost, that can turn negative fairly quickly. Therefore I would say, give what you want to receive. Get in contact with your deepest desires, and express them in a way that is generous and loving. Be especially kind to women; that means listening, in the first instance, and offering your support in gentle ways, with no strings attached.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — We all have those moments when an idea seems to manifest instantly into reality, and for many people they seem to be coming closer together. This is likely to be true for you during the next few weeks. We may not know how this process works, but it may be enough to say that thought is creative on many different levels. The first thing to do is create a space within your mind and your emotions where you feel safe. You can give yourself reasons, or you can stretch into an inner spot that requires no particular rationales. Once you know you’re safe, then fear is a moot point. And from there, it’s possible to apply an abundance of newly liberated energy into creative ideas. I don’t just mean art; I mean ideas for creating the world around you that works for you and your family or loved ones. Every situation you encounter has a positive solution, and is an opportunity for expanding your consciousness. Notice how every one of those encounters is a passing phase, but the thing that remains consistent is you exploring the flow of existence. The world is full of threats; we all know this. And I don’t think there is a person walking the face of the planet who has not noticed how powerful love is, and I mean by the results they got at least once. Yet the mental balance between love and fear can be a delicate balance; we decide which way to go from thought to thought, and moment to moment.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — The human psyche seems to be arranged in layers. Those who have endeavored to address any significant personal issue have observed something like this. When you go into one layer and explore in a sincere way, you eventually come to another layer, and another. All healing processes work like this: the different attributes of a situation can be experienced as some form of physical, then emotional, then spiritual, which are arranged like the skins of an onion. The deeper we go, the more we can experience this elusive thing we call self-awareness. Mercury beginning its retrograde in your sign on Aug. 2 will take you deeper into yourself than you’ve gone in a while. You will have the opportunity to go past the surface layer of your ideas about yourself, closer into the core material. You have an invitation to challenge every stereotype about Virgo, whether it’s true or not. When you journey toward your own core, past the busy, questioning layer of your mind, you experience something akin to pure heat. When you get to this layer, you might recognize that everything you were told about yourself as a kid was true but only so far. It would seem that your primary impulse is creative rather than service, expressive rather than passive, passionate rather than intellectual. As Mercury retrogrades into Leo through most of August, you will have access to that original core of your psyche — the vibrant, fearless child. While you’re there, light the fire of your adult mind. Don’t just remember what you learn; become that person you once were and in truth always have been.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — The planets say that this is truly an extraordinary month for you on two accounts, which are closely related. One is an opportunity to be the vibrant socialite we know you are. Libra is one of the most laid-back signs, but you’re turning into an honorary redhead with a shock of vibrant hair and an aura to match. The second is that you get to make some wishes with the actual prospect of them coming true. Perhaps ‘wishes’ is a little too passive of a word, but ‘goals’ is a little too business-like. What I mean is discovering in your heart what you want, feeling the pleasure of that and knowing that you’re creating it in that moment. Make contact with your most cherished desires. Most of those involve the pleasure of developing your talent and expressing your brilliance. You have the opportunity to let go of many negative messages from your past; indeed, to transcend nearly all of the typical childhood conditioning about being ‘less than’, or needing to tone it down so you would not threaten your early caregivers. By now you’re familiar with what some of those messages were and how they have influenced you. You’re also familiar with the potency in you that burns karma, turning it into creative fire. I often describe Libra as the human blow torch. If there was ever a moment when that was true, that would be now. Though I rarely give dates in my horoscopes, I’m looking at an amazing chart that says pay attention on Aug. 16 and the few days surrounding it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You’re embarking on an odyssey this month. This may involve actual travel to an exotic place that feels like your spiritual home, or the astrology may be referring to an emotional and spiritual journey into some extraordinary inner territory. A third possibility is that you’re taking a ride in a time machine that is giving you a hint what the next three to five years will be about. Whether one or more of these is true, or something else entirely, there are profound encounters in your chart that promise to stretch your capabilities, including your ability to relate to people. There is an element of mastery that will be required from you, however. You are in the zone where your desires directly influence and indeed have an impact on the spheres of others. Some people will be engaging and welcoming. Others will be less thrilled that you’re so confident in yourself. One vital lesson from what you experience is not taking the responses of others so personally. That said, if you notice (as objectively as you can) what those responses are, you will be able to determine your best, most creative points of contact. Another lesson is being bold enough to really, truly understand in your heart and soul that you are loved. This is not something to take advantage of in the negative sense but rather to remember, and feel, and work with in the most creative ways you can. People can see you for who you are, at the same time you’re able to bring forth the best of who you are.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Someone needs to point out how much energy is consumed when we have to deal with the insecurity of others. Even if you only count the direct results of those who make every move based on their lack of confidence in themselves, that’s a lot of energy. Then there are people who build empires based on their lack of faith in themselves, who become petty tyrants, who spend their lives judging others, and far worse. You may need a strategy for such people this month, and the first element in that plan would be recognizing the phenomenon when you see it. The first sign is when you notice difficulty: in any communication process, in negotiations, in the flow of events. This may not be mere circumstance, and though you may not be experiencing intentional acts of disruption, check this factor of insecurity in those you’re addressing. Once you’ve figured out that someone is coming from a weak place and therefore overcompensating by being disruptive or exerting unnecessary authority, the key is not to get caught up in it. At the worst, the phase will pass, as long as you don’t complicate the issue in any way. For the most part you can feel confident going about your business on the policy that you don’t need permission from others to live your life. You may think you’re pretty good at that one and usually you are, but not always. So this month you will get to master a new level of the game of independence and freedom.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — I read recently that Ray Bradbury wrote the original draft of Fahrenheit 451 on public typewriters that cost a dime for every half-hour. He didn’t have a lot of money and had to work swiftly, even a bit furiously. He invested a little over $9 in dimes to write the original 25,000-word manuscript. The result became one of the most enduring works of 20th century science fiction. Your astrology has this feeling to it this month. You seem to be in line for some kind of creative or professional project that you do under adverse conditions but which benefits from the challenges and the pressure. These situations are not always comfortable at the time; there are some deadline junkies who love those conditions, and I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t noticed that constraints around time, space or resources can have a positive effect on the outcome. Therefore, I suggest you not complain about the demands of whatever you have to do, how much time you have, or be especially fretful if things don’t work out as planned. Rather, apply yourself to the goal and more importantly to the process, and get to work. Count on extending your talent right out to the edge of whatever boundary you’re in. Stay close to your purpose and remember, a committee of one gets things done. One other point — Mercury is retrograde (or close to it) just about clear through August. That suggests that you will need to think differently, think your way, and count on the odd chance.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — It’s time to make peace with the truth, as you’ve established it over a long time, about whether your family is a help or a hindrance. Working as an astrologer for as long as I have, I’ve heard many stories of people and their relationships to their families. There seem to be three basic configurations. One involves those who are unconscious of their situation, and who are often under the thrall of the expectations of their parents, no matter how old they are. Another involves people who have made what’s sometimes known as ‘the break’ and have declared their independence in a way that is both physical and energetic. Another common pattern is people who are outcast by their families, which can be devastating or is considered well and good enough because they have nothing in common with them. I suggest you evaluate your situation, and acknowledge what you want. I don’t mean what you want that would please someone else. I don’t mean what would require you to compromise any important personal value. I mean what you know would work for you. It’s true that you may need to transcend guilt and a sense of obligation. It’s possible that you will find yourself in the position of starting over. It’s a beautiful thing that in the current version of Western society, we distinguish the concepts family of origin and family of choice. The truth is, you choose in either case. Choose on the basis of what is truly right for you.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You have a lot of pent-up energy: your charts suggest you’re like a battery of sexual energy in particular. That also means creative energy, which is the basic life force that fuels all of existence. Consider for a moment what a stretch it is for many people to relate that which is creative and that which is erotic. Perhaps the confusion arises from the many ways in which our culture denatures the creative process in total, buries it in deception and tends to choke off the curiosity that leads directly to expression in every form. Curiosity, too, is a vital factor that often has to be explained. If you would allow yourself to be absolutely curious, about anything you liked, well, where exactly would you go with it? Anyway, at the moment you have a lot of energy, and it’s sitting in a kind of a container. You could view that as repressed, or you could view that as saved up for just the right moment. Indeed, a diversity of such moments are on their way. The question I suggest you work with involves how you release your energy. One big explosion is obviously not a healthy option. I suggest you look for situations that feel appropriate, constructive and healthy. You obviously have patience and the ability to stay self-contained, so use that to your advantage. You also want the right connection. That’s likely to feel like the intersection of curiosity and a place where you feel yourself open up with no effort. You arrive, you start to unfold, you crave the unknown.

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