Photo by Ariana Villegas


Your August Horoscopes Are Here

What the stars have in store for you this month

Dear Reader,

I wrote these horoscopes while sitting outside on a covered porch with summer rain pummeling my yard, filled with lavender, lilac bush, sage, nasturtium, lemon balm, hollyhocks, a tree that is not dead no matter what it looks like. I wrote these horoscopes while the world debated who was fit to oversee a divided country, while a 19-year-old opened fire on the attendants of a garlic festival, while fires raged over Siberia's forests and Moscow's LGBTQ activists faced the consequence of state-sanctioned hate crimes, while thousands continue to protest an extradition bill in Hong Kong, and indigenous people fight to protect their sacred Mauna Kea. I wrote these horoscopes while people who seek refuge and shelter grow sick and die in cages on our soil.

I write all this now so that I might remind you that no matter what your personal stakes in the stars are, each one of these small missives was suffused with love for this desecrated world and its surviving sacred sites, with hope that, as we learn how to account for ourselves in our daily lives and act with love, so too shall we account for our mistaken borders and our false sense of unending natural resources.

There's something in you that wants broadening. Some deep inner voice that says, open your heart a little wider, open your mind a bit more. You might have heard it over the past month or so, asking you to hold your judgment and entertain the possibility that there is more than one right way to be in this world. Perhaps you've found yourself looking at the creative world with a little more generosity, drawn to what is brave rather than what is ostensibly well-made. Perhaps you've found yourself looking at your own life with a little more generosity, proud of how hard you've fought to self-actualize, encouraged with the recognition that you have always known how to take your life into your own hands and make something magical out of it.

Aries, your ruling planet, Mars, is in Leo right now, and I can feel you aching to act. To make one or two grand gestures that could, in theory, change everything. But something holds you back. What is it? Well, for one thing, Mercury retrograde will keep casting its shadow well into August. That sort of planetary influence is enough to make anyone with a lick of sense grind their reactive (read: dramatic) gears. It's a good thing too because, by the time this shadow period wanes, your ruling planet will be heading into Virgo, the signs of service and strategy.

Never mind impatience, let these next two weeks fill you with excitement. Instead of wondering when things will change, when you will feel different, spend time noting what has already changed in your favor and what you have the power to change going forward. By the end of August, you'll have a greater grasp of just what, in practical terms, you need to do to steer your boat in the right direction. What's the right direction? The one where the horizon is wide open and there's a light in the distance, blinking a signal that whose instructions you alone will know.

It probably won't surprise you that I've been thinking a lot about home when it comes to you. Cancer is the sign more often associated with home and hearth, yet Taurus's commitment to building and maintaining a sacred space is not to be overlooked. While the 4th house (associated with Cancer) deals with where we belong, the 2nd house (associated with Taurus) can be understood as what belongs to us. For those of us who are still very much on the journey toward whatever a True Home is (if we ever encounter it), the places we lay our head and hearts along the way are the ones we claim temporarily, for the sake of rest. And, eventually, we learn to let them go when it is time, because, while these places served to shelter us, they did not have claim over us. This goes for our communities and our relational bonds as well—of course, it does.

While Uranus moving into Taurus might have shifted the ground beneath you literally and physically, Jupiter transiting your 8th house gave you the opportunity to recognize and discern the places and people who continue to offer you a net—a place to land. Certain aspects of your home life, be they your actual residence or the homes you have found inside of others, asked you to make critical decisions about who you are. In making them, your networks of relation rose to the surface.

These networks, built and maintained by you with a sense of reverence, are here for you just as much as anything material or contractual ever was so don't be afraid to ask for what you owed! By which I mean, allow those you've cared for to care for you in turn. Allow the universe that you have faith in to prove that your faith was well-founded. Give your life the opportunity to do right by you, to show you that you are never not carried, never not held. That wherever you land, you'll find something sacred there; because you'll be there, and that is already enough.

Do you think it is true what some say about Gemini? That, being born under the star of twins, you walk the Earth seeking your other? And, is this other a friend or a romantic partner? Is it a sibling? An animal whose appearance in your life marks a shift away from isolation and toward companionship? Or, is this seeking less about external accompaniment and more closely related to a very personal desire: to marry the parts of yourself that contradict, so that they might learn to complement each other?

Perhaps you've noticed that within the act of asking I've created yet another split: external companionship and internal collaboration. As if these two yearnings are separate. As if they don't directly inform one another. How, after all, is one to feel truly accompanied if one believes that there is a whole other half of themselves which remains othered—a part to relegate or restrain, a part that is not compatible with the rest?

You are no stranger to this question, this split that forms a landmass of doubt. Gemini, one of your greatest and most inspiring gifts is your ability to make a destination out of doubt rather than a deserted island. You take the ferry, you get off, you make your inquiries and chart your findings. Inside of questioning and uncertainty, you find yourself. You hear an inner voice that tells you, Write this down, this is important. A gut feeling that assures you, You can try it this way, you can bet on this. Whatever othering you experience, whatever sense of splintering, try to remember that the voice that emanates from the dark place between is singular. Trust that one.

Soft summer baby, you've been working so hard for so long, and I wish I could tell you that it's time to kick up your feet and rest. Alas, you know as well as I do that your work is far from done. Not with the north node still transiting your first house, the house of self! Well, what kind of work are we talking about here? Drudgery? Administrative maintenance? Sure, yes, that too. But, also, self-actualizing work, self-empowering work, all these and the practical day-to-day stuff. All these works that you agree to for the sake of your vision are of value to you. All of them exist in relation.

You, more than anyone, know what I mean by "in relation." You are the one who knows a ripple here is a wave there. Practical matters like respecting your own budget or recognizing your milk intolerance are in direct service to bigger spiritual work like setting boundaries, trusting your intuition, and believing in your ability to actualize and sustain your career goals.

This month, Jupiter goes direct in your 6th house, which is the house of service and health. Service, here, refers to what you mean to offer the world on a very real and tangible level. To usher in new offerings with true generosity (see: new moon in Leo), one must have a sense of their limits both psychically and bodily. Just as we treat the world as if its resources are unlimited, so we have learned to treat our own bodies and spirits. But, it isn't so—you know that. This month, practice aligning your big vision for yourself with your responses to daily errands. The person you're becoming can hear when her spirit says no, so she echoes "no" to a job that doesn't align with her ethos, and "no" to social situations that don't restore her joy, and "no" to processed sugar when what she really needs is some sweet potatoes and a hug.

What if what you're meant to be doing is having a good time? What if all your work to figure out what it is you owe others, versus what you owe yourself, comes down to one basic thing: pleasure. If you can't give joy to others, if you can only share joy—welcome others into your own joy—then doesn't it stand to reason that you deserve to cultivate pleasure and the joy that it brings for yourself?

This month begins with a new moon in Leo that feeds the fire of your inner world. Leo is a fire sign, and fire is a sexual element. Not sexual in the limited reproductive sense but sexual as in: erotic, playful, generative. Your sexual self is also your creative self is also your most magical self. These elements are fused in you and in all of us. If you have been suppressing this part of yourself, or struggling with it, then tension between what you yearn for and what you're settling for instead will become obvious. A lion wasn't born to be tame, you know, a lion finds no pleasure in a cage. Even if that cage is practical, even if they chose to walk right into it.

As if on cue, Jupiter goes direct in your 5th house of pleasure and play. There's a focus on relationship now, on partnership and emotional contracts. Juno, the goddess of marriage, has been transiting your sign for months now, and her tenure is almost through. Ask yourself what vows you are willing to honor and what vows you're willing to break in service to joy. The joy you want and the joy you wish to share. Devotion offered out of obligation is devotion fueled by fear, not love. There is no joy in fear. Venus and Sappho are in Leo too until the 21st and, as you might surmise, these planets are here to help. They offer you sweetness, inspiration, and the lyric. They're waiting for you to sing your song.

With Mercury, your ruling planet, transiting the sign of Cancer until the 11th and then Jupiter stationing direct on the 11th in your 4th house, which is associated with the sign of Cancer, there appears to be an ongoing focus on what allows you to feel attuned to your own emotional needs and secure or restored within your home. On average, Jupiter's transit through one house takes approximately one year, so this focus is anything but new. Rather, Jupiter has been in retrograde motion since April, and its shift into direct motion will have you shifting your attention back toward home affairs.

With Mercury shifting into Leo mid-month, Mars stationing into Virgo on the 18th, and the month closing with both Venus and the Sun under Virgo's auspices as well, it's likely that your desire to renovate, both literally and any other way you can fathom, in service to self-care will reach a pretty high pitch.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to beautify your space and simplify your life. In fact, it's a valid desire and entirely attainable. Virgo, you expend a great deal of your own energy in service to the visions of others. You deserve to direct that energy toward yourself and toward cultivating a greater sense of belonging. If you want to feel more at home in your own space, set intentions to cultivate comfort and beauty. If you want to feel more connected to your chosen family, invite them over for a dinner, a movie, or a game. Just be wary of overextending your resources (read: money, time, commitments), especially if partying or shopping is one way you cope with career stress. You can work on your perfect home slowly, and gatherings need not be a whole production. It's enough, for everyone involved, to spend a little time together.

Libras are not always recognized for being the fierce strategists that they are. Often, their reputation as seekers of equality and—dare I say it—pacifists precedes them and inspires assumptions in the minds of their fellow humans. While I would be remiss not to mention that pacifism is a powerful position in a world where inaction and apathy grant permission to acts of mass violence, it's of use to note that not all Libras are invested in balancing the scale—not any scale you've dragged up off the street, anyway.

Here, there is no aim to besmirch the good justice-minded name of Libra people. Rather, there is a desire to stretch what is meant or could be meant by a word like justice in a country such as ours. On a collective level, the practice of justice is rarely if ever objective, often serving the needs of those who wish to stay in power. In our personal spheres, these same modes of relation are carried out between each other. Very few people in this world have unlearned this. Very few people in this world are above using each other to heal and harm each other in the process, but the prevalence of harm is not harm's excuse.

This month Venus moves from prideful Leo into strategic Virgo and Jupiter stations direct in your third house of siblings and communication. Meanwhile, the asteroid Pallas-Athene, goddess of wisdom and war strategy, offers up her last lessons to you for the year. Don't be surprised, Libra, if you are called to mediate disagreements or if you are the one who finds yourself smack-dab in the middle of one. While discord in your community might kick up your anxiety, it also activates your inherent powers. Not that your purpose is to get wrapped up in other people's affairs, mind you, no matter how much they might relate to your own. Your purpose here is to explore relation as the practice of regarding the other, without compromising yourself and your sanity.

There are very few of us who are raised with the notion that wealth or abundance is a concept that goes beyond our belongings. In fact, I'd wager to say that most people who were raised with the understanding that their "true wealth" resided in their familial bonds were children who never worried about actual money. It should go without saying that growing up with financial scarcity affects your familial relationships and can very much get in the way of that feeling of emotional connection and interconnectedness that some of us experience as an abundance.

Whatever circumstance you come from, it is known that a lack of resources can teach you to be resourceful. So, Scorpio, look around. Financial stability can look like different things to different people, but, whatever it is for you, it's worth interrogating your relationship to it. What is your idea of wealth? How have you cultivated it? Do you wish to continue? What is it that you feel you lack? Is it a lack you've inherited or a lack you've chosen? Are you committed to accommodating it or is your intention to address it? Is this lack a part of your public image?

This is not a new planetary influence but the pressure to regard it will amp up this month. While Pluto, your ruling planet has been in Capricorn—star daddy of career, finance, and material matters—since 2008, Jupiter's transit in your second house (of money, belongings, and self-worth) is shifting into direct motion. You know more than most that our public world is an echo of our private world. Scorpio, yours is the house associated with transformation and other people's money. You know that the financial structures you find yourself in are not separate from your relationship structures, from your sense of self. Debt is your wheelhouse and debt can look like student loans or it can look like a relationship where you relive your intergenerational trauma. Let me remind you that one of those is within your power to break away from, and one of those calls your mother every morning at 7am after you change your phone number.

There are a lot of songs about freedom out there. I know because sometimes, before writing, my friend and I like to crank up a mix of them and thrash around the room until we feel some sort of creative spirit overtake us. Here are a couple of really sticky freedom lyrics: "Freedom! I will not let you down, I will not give you up." "Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose." "We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes." And, also, that Pharrell Williams song that's like, "Freedom! Freedom! Breathe in! We are from heat! The electric one!" Freedom, apparently, can be wide open space or a burden, a permission or an obligation. Freedom, imagined, can be a great hope. Experienced, it can usher in deep grief (just ask Janet).

What does freedom mean to you, Sagittarius? This is a collective level question, a public-facing question, and a private one as well. In what ways is your labor and your energy channeled toward the freedom of others? ("We cannot rest") In what ways is your creative freedom tied to, limited by, or in reaction to a public-facing self? ("I will not let you down, I will not give you up") Are there ways that you have compromised the expansiveness of yourself and your creative possibility out of fear of loss? ("Nothing left to lose") When was the last time you poured energy into something you are passionate about not out of duty but in ecstasy?

These questions might take time to answer, and they might reveal more than you expect about why you've spent a good deal of your time feeling stuck, restless, or even far from your purpose. This is the year you learn how to see yourself outside the limits you've given yourself—and outside the parameters of the boxes you've offered to others so that they might recognize your worth. That kind of work is never easy and often requires you to deal with parts of yourself that you're afraid or not proud of. Those parts are valuable, and they need freedom too. I'm thinking about that leather jacket George Michael sets on fire at the end of "Freedom! '90." What false sense of self are you setting on fire?

It can't be easy for an animal who spends their life building structures to have faith in something other than themselves. Even the most devout amongst you will have trouble, when life is stormy, in surrendering control, looking to a support system or a higher power. Now, I know that "higher power" can be a fraught idea. It's been more than a long millennium of men desecrating what is sacred and abusing people in the name of god. That's not stopping anytime soon, unfortunately, so we've got a couple of choices to make.

We can decide that this world is without spirit, without wisdom beyond what we can see. This is a lonely decision, and it is often made in the face of mourning, in the face of grief. It is okay for you to make that decision. It is okay for you to believe that you have only yourself and the people who show up. And, if no one shows up, then you're fine alone, since you've spent your whole life preparing to parent your own damn self.

For my part, Capricorn, I have faith. I have faith that no matter how alone you feel, how racked by life's inevitable mysteries by way of sorrow you are, you are carried in this life. You are carried by angels that get you from here to there, from one teacher to the next, one warm flame to another. I have faith that the work you do, the structures you build, and the energy you offer others, is not only from you but through you, and it is of great importance to this world. That there is magic and healing and god in you. And, that god is neither cruel nor kind, only alive and ever-present, like the sky with its sunsets and its floods. When you believe in yourself, you believe that sky too, its cycles and reasons, and that is more than enough.

How annoying would it be if I told you your new life is already here? Only a little? I'm okay with annoying you, because you can be annoying, too. You can lie down with a book and forget to show up; you can check out when people need you to check in; you can smoke too much and—all of a sudden—you're sad about the color of your plant's leaves and it's tomorrow. Being annoying is a forgivable offense, and, at your core, you're not afraid of it. The people in your life who are of value to your future self won't mind it either. The people in your life who matter admire the fact that you'd rather get to the bottom of what matters to you than serve someone else's emotional journey.

Your fierce autonomy is an example to the people who love you, not an insult. Your work is your work, and you are in the process of making a commitment to it for the long haul. And, no, I don't mean what you do to make money—although if your money is tied to your earth-mission then bless you, you champion—I mean what you do to feel of service to the world.

Your new life? Yes, any time you want it. Every time you wake up. Routine is one thing, Aquarius, and mindset is another. What if today you chose to listen to the visions you've been having of your future and treat them less like fantasies and more like possibilities? Your psychic powers have been on high, offering you glimpses into your next journey. How you've been regarding them is entirely related to what you think you owe a past self who is gone. She doesn't need anything from you anymore. She's ready for you to move forward.

Success is a strange idea, isn't it Pisces? Of course, we all have our individual ideas of success, but, sure as the tide, our markers of success change when the sea changes. Perhaps you've been a student for a long time, and your idea of success was finishing your degree and landing a job that allows you to do what you love. But, by the time you've completed your degree, you're not sure what it is you love about your work, and your coveted position feels less like a clear destination and more like fog obscuring the place where land and water meet. Perhaps you've been at your job a long time and finally secured a position with stability—something many people are struggling to achieve—but the work you long to do is outside of that institution. In fact, you never meant to secure yourself so tightly to the rock of bureaucracy. It's someone's idea of success, but it isn't yours.

Examples like these and others point to a hunger that few promotions can satiate. It is a hunger of the soul, and when the soul is hungry, it starts to feel restless, aimless. It wanders down dark distracting roads on long night drives. It makes bad choices in the name of feeling good right now. It eats itself up. It convinces itself that what it sees is all there is so that it can learn to survive with less. Pisces, what you see in front of you can never be all that there is.

There is always more. You turn off one road and another one appears. Roads are like rivers in this way. It's important to remind yourself, Pisces, that you can make a different choice at any time. Even if it's hard, even if it feels like betraying the person you were when you set out down this path. No matter how many roads the universe puts before you, you have the free will to change your mind at any time, and in changing your mind, you find a different fate. You and I both know that there is more than one way to define success. Define it for yourself—your soul—and, when you're done with that one, write a new one.