These weekly posts focus on the microcosm of the smaller planetary cycles.  For an overview of the larger cycles and how they affect our inner and outer worlds, be sure to subscribe to my monthly Planetary Illuminations report

Thanks to the proliferation of astrological information on the Internet, most people know about Mercury retrograde – the pesky little jokester planet which reverses course for three weeks, four times a year, often forcing us to retrace our steps and discover our mistakes.  “Oh, I didn’t realize that…”  “I thought you said…” “Please cancel my appointment…” – these are all the kinds of things that are said while Mercury is retrograde.

Mercury is about to turn direct again on the 31st, but it takes a few days for its motion to pick back up and for things to get back to normal.  So for the next week or so, remain aware and look back to see if any details have been dropped and need to be corrected.

The Sun and Venus are locked in an embrace that culminates midway through August – this is a particularly favorable planetary combination that fosters ease and flow, especially if you have planets between 15-25 degrees of the fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius).  The Sun represents the Self – our inner vitality, our sense of purpose.  Venus is the principle of attraction, including our relationships with others and our aesthetic tastes.  The two together combine in a lovely cocktail of beauty and harmony for the next couple of weeks, but that harmony will be shaken up from time to time by a stressful aspect from Uranus, planet of radical and abrupt change.  Our relationships with others could be shaken up as well, with a need for authenticity and truth rather than idealized notions.

The Leo New Moon on August 1st (eastern daylight time) includes a packed stellium of four planets all in Leo.  This intense beam of Leo energy inspires us to find the best in ourselves and shine that magic out into the world.  Leo can be egotistical and self-absorbed, it’s true, but at its core Leo is generous and open-hearted.  Still, any effort to find the best in ourselves will be challenged by the disruptive force of Uranus.  Hold fast to your ideals and your best hopes even though right now it may be a rocky road. This is also not a time to succumb to impulsive decisions.  Leo is a fire sign, and the abundance of fiery energy bestows confidence and a high level of activity.  But it’s important now to remain focused and work on maintaining equilibrium so that we can use the fire with focused intention rather than be swept away by the flames.

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