August 2023

blonde with white headscarf wearing sunglsses and driving a turquoise 50s vintage car

Time travel is on the agenda. Retrograde planets are awakening the past, revealing crossed wires, and, sometimes, inviting do-overs and second chances. By the last week of the month, six planets will have us whirling backwards and inwards, examining nuggets to determine what to retrieve, what to complete, and what to leave behind.

Sound intense? At times, yes. Sound like work? Could be. More likely the overriding experience will be fun. Consider it the season of love – for yourself.

Head of the pack and center stage is Venus, retrograde all month, reminding you who and what used to be important. She’s the ruler of relationships, beauty, creativity, and money, and her turn through high-drama Leo is reigniting passions and summoning people, pursuits, and bits of ourselves that once blazed in our lives. We’re in a gauntlet of old flames and partners, unfinished creative projects, and memories of school days, former fashions and hairstyles, and what we did for fun, with lots of formerly important women popping back onto our radar.

Remember: All that glitters is not gold. You’re under no cosmic mandate to let in anyone who shows up now, old or new, no matter how enticing. Instead, enjoy this stretch’s potential for self-paced soul retrieval. Compare what you encounter to who you are now. if you like what you stumble upon – talents, pastimes, school days fashions, bits of yourself, and the like – reclaim them and incorporate them into the You of Now.

Three outer planet retrogrades underlie the process all month long. Pluto, the agent of unavoidable change, is plowing through institutions, foundations, and infrastructures, for each of us as well as for the collective (through early October); Saturn is testing how well you’ve fared with adulting (through early November); and Neptune has you swirling in inspiration, creativity, and escapism (through early December).

This part of the journey isn’t as footloose as in July, but the month’s bumps and jolts startle you into welcome epiphanies and liberation. What you encounter and reclaim affects how you proceed. Trappings that are impeding you will come flying off intermittently, like a dancer tossing off item after item to move more freely and comfortably.

The first unlocking kicks off the month, when the Aquarius Full Moon teams with action hero Mars (in make-it-better Virgo) and indulgent Jupiter (in here-and-now Taurus) to break us from friend groups, communities, and wish lists that don’t further our well-being and future flourishing. The pressure comes with delays, blockades, and echoes of July 21 (just before Venus stationed retrograde), when Mercury opposes Saturn, as Mars did in July.

More unlocking, heavy on surprises and breakthroughs, erupts August 9. Relationships, messages, and perspectives are equally affected, when a trine from Mercury fuels quick-change artist Uranus and a square from Venus activates his lightning. Wherever they take you, you should feel good – and like yourself – by Venus’ conjunction with the Sun August 13.

But wait; there’s more! The Sun squares Uranus August 15 (triggering explosions of “me” and “not me”), and takes us into the Leo New Moon August 16. This fresh start in self-expression teams with Uranus and Mars to turn up your inner flame and catapult you out of situations that dampen or endanger it.

Communication, technology, and transportation snafus join the retrograde adventures when the Sun enters Virgo and Mercury goes retrograde August 23, through September 15. The winged messenger’s about-face in Virgo shows where you’ve missed the fine print. (Learn more in my guide.) As his retrograde overlaps with Venus’, he’s also escalating the appearance of ghosts from the past, with his contributions weighted more to pals and men.

Mercury’s first look backward coincides with major action from the other inner planet, Mars. As the planet of push heads for the door out of Virgo, he makes a trine to Pluto on August 24, efficiently and effectively streamlining motives and follow-through for our ultimate improvement.

As the month wraps up, we encounter echoes of July 21 and August 1. On those days Mars and Mercury hit walls and obstruction opposing Saturn; now the Sun stares down the cosmic taskmaster, raising the question of “Who’s the boss?” While stalemates hover, make the effort to play nice. Mars’ move into Venus-ruled Libra delivers incentive for that, and it just might bring people around to what you want.

Uranus joins the retrograde line-up August 28, returning us to recent disruptions and bringing the backward motion squad to six. As the back to school vibe builds, it will be more like back to school days of decades past. A conjunction from Saturn moors the August 30 Pisces Full Moon to longing, to loss, to sadness, to the weight of all existence. The experience embodies the ending words of The Great Gatsby: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”