Would it be a stretch to say that this summer hasn’t gone quite the way you thought it would? What was it for you? The apocalyptic weather, the new variants, or the unending vaccine discourse? If you feel like the momentum in your life has come to a stall, like you keep getting it together just to lose the point, you’re not far off from the rest of the cosmos. On August 22, a double full moon — the second in a row in the sign of Aquarius, and a blue moon at that — forces a pause, and a chance to really deal with the ways the world has changed (or hasn’t changed fast enough) in 2021.
In late July 2021, the first full moon in Aquarius brought a reckoning between individual entitlement and global change. Now, back again for August 2021, the Aquarius full moon qualifies as a blue moon — essentially a cosmic freebie, an extra full moon for a season. And we could use the help: In the month since the last full moon, the summer has seemingly melted down around us, amid the spectre of Delta and Lambda variants, the violent consequences of disastrous foreign policy in Afghanistan, a devastating earthquake in Haiti, and an avoidable blast in Lebanon. Isn’t Aquarius the sign of change? Weren’t we supposed to be progressing to something new and fantastic?
July’s full moon initiated a face-off between the sun, at the early degrees of Leo, and the moon, at the beginning of Aquarius. The opposing signs should, ideally, operate as two sides of a coin: Aquarius starts the revolution, and Leo leads it; Aquarius is the movement, and Leo is the face. And yet, when flung apart, the two stubborn, fixed signs double down on their worst attributes. Aquarius, forever the intellectual contrarian, clings to its ideals, lacking empathy for the real-world circumstances which make life full of complications — and compromises. Leo, meanwhile, viewing the world as its own mirror, fails to see the big picture. Throw in class resentment and a culture of individualism, and you have the makings of a warzone, or a pandemic re-escalation.
“The pressure of Aquarius makes this reality feel like a Sims game gone wrong, furthering dissociation from sensation and verve. Why bother stepping back into the matrix, with so much ambivalence and disappointment? Because, if only for one day more, it’s still Leo season, damnit.”
Perhaps July’s full moon in Aquarius came to show us how little we’ve learned, to remind us that though one phase of quarantine was ostensibly over, the change it called for was by no means complete. In Leo season, we embrace our divine embodiment, becoming the protagonists of our own stories. On the other end of the spectrum, Aquarius always has its eye on the entire human collective; and with the major planets Jupiter and Saturn moving through the water bearer’s domain throughout 2021, there can be no break from global progress.
The August 2021 blue moon brings these lessons to closure and culmination, this time in the final degrees of Aquarius and Leo. On the same day of its face-off with the moon, the sun launches us into Virgo season, emphasizing a shift from Leo’s lived wisdom to a more direct mode of action and decision. If the last full moon in Aquarius reminded us of our smallness in the place of global upheaval, this one puts the power back in our hands. The pressure of Aquarius makes this reality feel like a Sims game gone wrong, furthering dissociation from sensation and verve. Why bother stepping back into the matrix, with so much ambivalence and disappointment? Why not just get into 2020’s sweatpants and fade away?
Because, if only for one day more, it’s still Leo season, damnit. This is the king of the zodiac we’re talking about, and you should show some respect. No matter how savage their surroundings, the greatest Leos assert and affirm their inner regality, dignifying those around them. In embracing their prerogative to grace and greatness, Leos inspire. The moon in Aquarius, meanwhile, comes close to Jupiter, planet of light and knowledge, making every small action vibrate with possibility (Princess Diana, no stranger to subtle deeds of reverberative progress, had Jupiter and her moon in Aquarius). Change is on the menu, if we can hold on for long enough, with HIV vaccinations going into testing, Britney Spears coming out of imprisonment, lab-grown meats providing some hope for ethics and sustainability, and $3.5 trillion on the Senate floor in infrastructure and childcare revitalization. There’s no telling where any of this is going, if we’re headed into an endless quarantine, or worse, or better.
“I realized it’s alright that the world is crazy,” Christine Baranski says, on The Good Fight, “as long as I make my little corner of the world sane.” This moon blasts us into the realm of Virgo, the sign dedicated to service, where Mars brings our sense of drive and ambition to a noble purpose, and Venus, from her throne in Libra, prioritizes empathy and relationality above all else. This full blue moon is not some saccharine call to “reach across the aisles” and find common ground with your wack, racist cousins. Rather, it’s a calling to imbue your personal life with dignity, and as much kindness as you can muster.
In the Aquarian vision, every one of us is a citizen of humanity, an individual agent operating as a piece of the whole. At this final turning point in Leo, the full blue moon challenges you to be here, downloaded back into the matrix, and to confront the ways you may want to escape. Buffy Summers, the titular vampire slayer, once said that the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. In the final hours of Leo season, you must affirm your place here — in this body, in this bizarre moment in time, strap in for the long run, and await further orders.