Welcome to Leo season, star babes, it's the time again when every warm day is a precious gift, every night a parting ritual, every adventure outside city limits is the chance to yell “now or never!" while diving butt first into the water. It's also the time to rise up and resist, since we all know it's not sun and games. We know that the world is fucked, and we know that, with every eclipse, we're newly filled with intergalactic powers intent on dismantling the white-hetero patriarchy.
But, listen, book after book written in a country's wartime years, an author will describe those violence-besieged people buying concert tickets and bolts of fabric for future dresses. We do what is within our measure, we stretch our sense of accountability, our radical imaginations, and still we go on as best we can with our daily lives. That said, this month promises to be full of feelings that are anything but ordinary, beginning just after a Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, punctuated by a partial solar eclipse in Leo, and closing with a full moon in Pisces. Uranus will be retrograde in steadfast Taurus, Mercury will be retrograde in passionate Leo, Mars will be retrograde in ardent Capricorn, and all this while Chiron will be retrograde in Aries. You might need to lie down just to get through it, but now that lying down will be far from lying idle. This month will be less about action and more about revelation. Maybe it's summertime, and the living's easy, but what's happening in the stars and all around us is far from it. What surfaces now will have a massive effect, not only on revolutionizing our sense of self but also on our sense of national and global identity. So yeah, have a corndog, have a veggie corn dog, crack a beer, get up, walk outside, change your whole damn life.
August has a lot of potential for you, Aries, so it’s up to you to figure what that potential is best suited for. There’s a great deal of charge in the air and a great deal of change, too. Mars, your ruling planet, is still retrograde through much of August, but it moves into Capricorn mid-month, and this will add a great deal of focus and discipline into the mix. It’s true that a retrograde influence won’t grease the gears and it’s easy enough for an Aries to feel stymied when all signs recommend slowing down. But, if you regard Mars Rx as a kind of late summer blessing, you might find it rewarding to step back, have a sandy siesta, and consider your next steps rather than rushing toward decisions that just don’t work for you. Even if it doesn’t feel like it on the surface, the truth is, you have time.
I’d be remiss not to remind you that Chiron has been retrograde in Aries since early July. And, with eclipses filling up our summer skies, there’s a really good chance you’ll be called to sit with past wounds and experiences that deeply influence your sense of self and relation to others. I know you’re no stranger to this kind of self-investigation, especially on an intellectual level, but Chiron’s position will push you to go deeper. Chiron in Aries is interested in how your core self developed; it wants to break apart patterns in your life that grew out of trauma to that core self, patterns that keep you in cycles of constriction rather than expansion. Because Chiron’s transit through Aries (with some closure trips back into Pisces) began this year and will continue until 2027, it’s valuable to assess how long you’d like to resist learning from your mistakes. As Jenny Holzer said, “It’s in your best interest to find a way to be very tender.”
This month is all about your energy Taurus, how you get it and where you spend it. Uranus the transformer is in Taurus for the long haul, and on August 7 it will begin a retrograde transit. Uranus in Taurus is a material revolution that is set to affect all of us on a global level, it’s an influence invested in protecting what is sacred to the Earth and upending systems of wealth that are unsustainable. On a personal level, Uranus in Taurus wants to teach you what wealth means on an interpersonal and sacred level. It will, over and over again, ask you to examine your resources and assess their value. In what ways have you allowed the world of capital to dictate how you define success? In what ways do you allow the world of capital to dictate where you place your creative energy?
To step into your power you’ve got to recognize your power, even and especially when you exist within a world that benefits from convincing you that you are powerless. This work of recognition is not easy, it requires resistance, and it requires a lot of self-love. Look to your community, Taurus, to teach you the kind of love you’re capable of giving to yourself; especially since Venus (your ruling planet) transits through cardinal connective Libra this month where it can find a great deal of grace and strength. In each of your partnerships, friendships, and ties you will find keys. What left as a solitary bull returns to you a herd. Here lie your lessons in forgiveness and steadfast care. Here lie your lessons on energetic leakage, energetic sustainability, energetic reciprocity, and energetic exchange. What you have given away is not lost, Taurus, it returns to you threefold. What will you do with it?
Do you know that on July 31 the asteroid Sappho entered Gemini where she will reside into the new year? No? Well, I’m glad to tell you so. As you can imagine, the asteroid of Sappho is often associated with “close female friendships” and “same-sex bonds.” These descriptions tickle me, of course, since Sappho was not so much interested in bosom buddies as she was in sating her hunger by suspending her “loops of tender rosebuds” on Aphrodite’s “sacred tree.” Besides her sexual proclivities, Sappho is also associated with creativity—especially creativity that celebrates women’s voices and experiences—and practices of praise. In tandem with this influence, you have Mercury (your ruling planet) transiting Leo, a position that boosts creative flow, promotes self-expression, and funnels passionate energy into new ideas. Since Mercury will be retrograde for most of August, this bold energy should be handled with measure.
How to be bold but heed the Mercury Retrograde call for restraint? How to throw your mortal body before a goddess born out of foam? Write songs of praise, express gratitude, key into the moments when you feel held by the feminine energies that surround you, examine in what forms the feminine divine takes to arrive for you. Let your imagination about this be expansive and unbounded by sex, gender, and sexuality. Let something human come and something animal too, let it be memories and let it be new ideas. This month will offer you lessons in intimacy, in gratitude, and in taking your work seriously. Imagine that it is your task, nay your sacred call, to open your window and your doors to this very Venusian energy.
Solar Eclipse, Lunar Eclipse, Solar Eclipse, then a full moon in Pisces just to round it out… this is the summer of BIG FEELINGS. When isn’t it the summer of big feelings? Cancer asks, and is correct in doing so. Alright, let’s adjust. This is the summer of big feelings about old feelings sandwiched tightly between new information and self-reinvention. This is the summer when the shed you kept all the emotions you wanted to sort through some other time got hit by a storm, and now it’s all strewn about the front yard, so there’s nothing to it but to do it.
Simple, right? Just walk around picking up your resurfaced wounds like storm debris, asking yourself, How did this get here? Where does it go? Does holding this bring me any joy? Of course not.
Of course, it’s not simple. None of it is, and it shouldn’t be. The bonds we build with people are intricate, forged out of lived experiences, attachment patterns, and ancestral imprints. The expectations we set for ourselves and our ability to show up for our own dreams, these are practices that are both taught to us and inherited by us. To face them, to shift them, to accept them, all of this is real and profound work. It’s okay that it’s hard because it’s sacred, and sometimes what’s sacred takes an inordinate amount of discipline and faith. This might be the summer of big feelings but, guess what? This is also the summer when you get to chuck out what no longer serves you and use your emotional storage shed for something a whole lot better, like memories of pleasure and schemes for futures adventures.
Leo, if there’s anyone that’s compelled more devotion from me I don’t know them. It’s 2am, and as I’m writing this, you’re dozing on the couch attempting to keep me company. Sometimes, between jags of language, I look up and gaze at your stern sleeping face where generosity and softness flicker like butterflies alighting a bright flower. It’s taken me a long time to understand the way you love, how your earnestness hides in plain sight, how you hold your words back and throw your whole heart forward. Tonight, watching you sleep, I’m thinking about all the Leos and Leo dominants I’ve loved (so many). I’m thinking about Leo pride, how it takes up almost as much space as their body in a room, how it sits between them and what they want like a third party running interference. Tonight, I’m thinking about Leo ruled by the Sun and the Sun in Leo. All that heat and exuberance, a presence so palpable it feels hot on the eyes. I’m thinking about Mercury in Leo, banging on every surface like it’s the skin of a drum, begging to communicate passionately and freely. I’m thinking about Retrograde periods as difficult for fire signs, who were made to act rapturously, move on instinct, consume.
This summer has stirred up a lot of questions for you, Leo, and they’re not new. What is new is the person receiving them. You are not who you once were, and your needs have changed. The story of your life up until now has reached a powerful moment and a final page. The questions that you’re grappling with now are from a past life. How will you answer them now that you’re new? Don’t be too proud to let go of what never belonged to you. Don’t be too proud to admit that you would make a different choice knowing what you know now. Don’t be too proud to admit that the person you were then was operating from a place of fear and the person you are now no longer wants to live that way. How will you honor the person you’ve worked so hard to become? It’s time to start a new book, Leo. Turn the page and tell me how this one begins.
Because you are an Earth sign, Virgo, because you are a sign that is mutable and invested in acts of service, because you are ruled by Mercury, which is the god of information and transaction, I’d like to take a moment and talk about Ceres. Ceres has been in Virgo for much of the summer, and her final month with you is this August. Ceres is the Roman equivalent of Greek Demeter, the goddess associated with the harvest, with her daughter Persephone, with a grief so great and bitter it bore winter onto the world. We can talk about this. We can talk about what harvest might mean to you this late summer, what bounty you might be ready to reap because of Spring’s ardent labors. We can talk about emotional labor and physical labor, the work of building community and the work of rebuilding yourself.
But first, I want to talk about Ceres. The goddess, yes, but also her name. A quick trip to Wikipedia land for my etymology needs: “Ceres' name derives from the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European root *ḱerh-, meaning 'to satiate, to feed,' which is also the root for Latin crescere 'to grow' and through it, the English words create and increase. Roman etymologists thought ceres derived from the Latin verb gerere, 'to bear, bring forth, produce.'"
Mercury is in Leo this month, Virgo, and Leo infuses your hot red planet with pride, with boundless passion, with heart energy. Let your last month with Ceres be a month where you take your creative self seriously. Ground yourself firmly in your personal landscape and take stock. What depletes your capacity for growth? What enriches your soil? You’ve worked harder than most can see to have what you have now, don’t let bitterness bring winter into your heart before you’ve had your best season.
Sometimes, when my best friend and I haven’t seen each other in a long time, I get kind of tight when she makes plans with me and invites her boyfriend. I like him fine, which is pretty good considering my heavy commitment to misandry, but sometimes, I need one on one time with the ones I love. “When we all spend time together, it can be fun,” I explain to her, “but there’s a special part of our connection that exists when we are just the two of us, and that part needs nourishment in order to thrive.” Interpersonal nourishment and self-nourishment are different for everyone. While some of us find it easy to be our most authentic selves in groups, others need to carve out intentional time where those selves can be tended to and replenished.
This month, I’m inviting you to examine the many kinds of nourishment you need so that you feel like your most authentic self in partnership, in group setting, and especially on your own.
What habits, rituals, and practices have you carried with you into a life that has outgrown those very things? What kinds of connections are you interested in developing now and what kinds of connections rob you of your energy? With Venus transiting Libra, it’s a good time to take note of moments when you push your physical self beyond its limits and what compels you to overextend in such a way. Note, also, what sort of care you need in these moments. How do you show up for yourself to get those needs met? To ask clearly for what you need, you have to believe you deserve what you’re asking for. There are many ways to practice self-love, and most of them involve figuring out what it is you love so that you can offer it to yourself. What do you love, Libra? Are you sure? As sure as the sky is blue.
For the most part, Scorpios have excellent memories. They can, with precision, open the Rolodex of old injuries and pull out the ones that pertain to each person in their lives coupled with what they were wearing and where the injury in question occurred. For a long time, this ability to call up old wound was a kind of relief for you, a grounding. The kind of belief that allowed you to huff gently to yourself, “I might not know what the fuck I’m doing, but I sure as hell know what I’m no longer doing!” It was a useful thing until it wasn’t, until your collection of painful memories started to crowd and obscure the myriad pleasures your past had provided you. So, to your study of love, you added the study of forgiveness. Scorpio, your duel scholarship has brought you here to this place of knowing and unknowing, and it is from this place that I write to you.
Memory, we know, is an unreliable narrator. How many times have you looked back at a time of great pain and wondered at its impact? Why did it hurt so much then? Why is it that now, looking back, all you can feel is a deep and enduring tenderness to all parties involved? And who are you now compared to who you were then? The same? If the person you were then was more like the person you are now—wiser, stronger, integrated etc.—then perhaps you might know why you failed, perhaps you might not have failed at all. Don’t let reflection take you down these roads, Scorpio, that’s not what reflection is for. Regret is a terrible teacher, and denial, too, won’t keep you warm at night. This month, let memory be the place where you store your gentleness instead. Hold the face of the person you were eight years ago, or even four months ago, sweetly between your hands. How could she have known that each loss endured, each letting go, would one day fuel her sense of wholeness? With gentleness, use that great memory of yours to remember who you are.
In case you’re wondering, one of the greats loves of my life, Claire Skinner—angel Sagittarius—wrote me today to tell me: “Maybe for Sag, you could talk about how good it feels to connect to our hearts, since we don’t usually live there.” I told her I would hold these instructions until I got to Sagittarius and, now that I’m here, I can’t help but wonder what it means to feel good and when feeling good is and isn’t the point. Don’t get me wrong, feeling good is great and a Sagittarius that feels good is a beautiful thing—a boundless and free spirit—a magnanimous energy that loves to charm and be charmed. It’s just that, sometimes, living in one’s heart means living very close to sorrow and learning how to do so with grace.
When life takes a turn, or when you feel yourself transforming, it’s worthwhile to touch the edges where joy and despair meet rather than rejecting despair entirely. Whether we allow ourselves to dwell on certain thoughts or not, what’s within is with us and affects us. What is submerged, what is pushed down and stored away, is always active. It’s your ability to recognize the roots of your patterns that slips into mute mode and, often, your ability to tend to those roots in a way that allows you to thrive. This in no way is a recommendation to sit around sad-sacking, in fact, if anything, this is a winding advisory to take message to take a different route entirely. This late summer, with Jupiter direct in Scorpio and Vesta (goddess of the hearth, goddess who took the form of fire) in Sagittarius, all the horses you’ve set free to roam your emotional landscape have gathered in the field. They want to be fed, they want to wrap their soft necks around each other and stand flank to flank. The horse named grief is not less beautiful than the horse named gratitude. You don’t need to choose which one is yours and, anyway, you belong to them.
It’s not the mark of an evolved person to be hard on oneself. It’s not gonna make you any richer, wiser, or more secure to spend your time comparing your accomplishments to others, pointing out places where your overachiever efforts are underappreciated. And, it sure won’t make you feel powerful or taken care of if you take those impossible standards and start applying them to the people who surround you and want to support you. Inherently, you know all these things because you are wise and wish to be kind. It’s just that none of us can live in this world of Capital without drinking the water.
So, you’re thirsty. So, you’re parched. So, you’ve been building and building and building the foundation for a truly remarkable life, but life seems to keep getting in the way. Maybe it’s time to look back at what you’ve built and take some time to be proud of your damn self. Maybe, if life feels like it’s getting in your way, you could try acting like you meant to take a break and review the way from which you came. That’s right. You’re not blocked. You’re not stymied or looked over. You are now empowered to stand in the place where you are and be proud of how much you’ve accomplished, not despite your obstacles but because of them. This includes both your material and emotional resources, your ability to hustle and your unwavering commitment to providing care. You might find, in this reflective Mars retrograde period, that the water you seek runs just below the ground you stand on, and all you’ve got to do is split your divining rod and pay attention.
For some of you, it’s been worse than others. For some of you, the planetary journey that Uranus has begun through the constellation of Taurus has initiated a journey in your own personal world that is no less monumental in scale. For some of you, the ground has quaked. These quakes have served to shift your own relationship to material and spiritual foundations: what home is, what intimacy is, what security is, what sustains you on a very real and corporal level. And, for some of you, the ground has disappeared entirely—replaced with rivers of hot lava, caverns where whole lives are imperiled, houses where no one can return to live. The stakes vary in intensity, it’s true, but in no way has this summer been smooth sailing and certainly not easy on the spirit.
Take heart, Aquarius. It does get better. Not because life gets easier or because sorrow forgets where you live. Unfortunately, we don’t stop getting our lessons ‘til we’re dead. No, life doesn’t get easier but you get more powerful—you find yourself more and more equipped to face what comes at you head-on, a champion of your life and all that you want for it. If you’re down, Aquarius, know that taking time to heal is not the same as being out for the count. Don’t take this chance to nurture yourself for granted, don’t let it become an isolation cell when it could be a temple. You are being offered space and time to know yourself again, to fall in love with who you are at your core—your singular, sacred, self.
The days are getting shorter and you can feel it, the tide coming in earlier and earlier, the moon slinking her way into the spotlight while you’re still figuring out where to eat your dinner. Pisces might not be summer babies, but you sure are sensitive to the closing of a season devoted to play and pleasure. Well, I might ask what Pisces AREN’T sensitive to, but I digress. Instead, let’s talk about what you plan to do with whatever summer you’ve got left, what you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.
Perhaps you can start by looking forward to the full moon in Pisces, you can dream up a big beautiful ritual, you can collect or create whatever you need to make this ritual extra powerful. The full moon in Pisces is so full of water it’s an eternal pool in the night sky, a pool brimming with emotional waves, intuitive visitations, and new-world visions. The full moon in Pisces has a lot to offer you and the quality of what you receive is entirely up to you. Open your doors to scarcity, to acting out fear, and the pool will reflect that back to you: a world where your insecurities play host to the party of your life. It will give you what you’re looking for. Open your heart to your desires for play and reciprocity, and the summer will offer you opportunity after opportunity to practice both, to receive both.