This Month: Astrological Trends * Meditation * Recipe: “Basil Zucchini Potato Pancakes”
August 2015 Astrological Trends
It’s a great month to really get a handle on how to take good care of yourself and get things done.
Determination and resourcefulness take center stage in August as Saturn ushers in a very intense month with a square to Jupiter occurring immediately on August 1 (The exact square is August 2), just as Saturn turns from retrograde to direct—its most potent time of energy release—and in the sign of Scorpio—a fixed sign concerned with power and depth. It seems the July 31 Full Moon in Aquarius, which required us to finish up many things, does not carry with it a subsequent rest period this time. Saturn’s energy here asks us to pivot and continue our focus while maintaining healthy, productive habits. Jupiter in Leo at the start of the month is still focused on the self, in the sign of Leo. Plan to take care of yourself, Saturn says, in the middle of your good works and optimistic visions.
Not only is Saturn in a square aspect to Jupiter, but also to Venus (who is herself retrograde currently). Venus has us reviewing ourselves, our environments, our partners, our projections, our creativity, our budgets, and all that we deeply love and cherish. Saturn can help or hinder her progress—certainly we will be able to go deeper right about now. With Venus and Jupiter drawing close, and talking with Saturn—this review should expand and help us learn a great deal about our next choices.
These energies are active the whole first half of the month, which I find very exciting. Even though square aspects are challenging, the potential for learning is great. With Mercury conjunct Venus and Jupiter on August 6-7, there is also a lot of potential for creative, original thinking and sharing, also.
In case you thought Saturn was done, don’t worry. Saturn’s just getting started! Also in August, there’s a strong trine to Mars in late Cancer and then early Virgo from August 1 through August 11, with this being exact on August 5-6. Trines are available beneficent energy that can be used to support us and ease our way if we use it. In the case of Mars, this is taking action. Cancer is a cardinal sign, and Virgo is a mutable sign, so we can really start and continue something that will benefit us. Cancer is the sign of the home, the family, the mother or father, the nurturer, the heart of the chart, the basis of one’s life, one’s childhood, the bottom or cornerstone. So design projects at home, deeply emotional change and learning, going to the basis of anything going into the past to retell a better story—even past lives, nurturing anything you want, any parenting issues, self-care… This can go in many ways in order to enhance and empower your being. Also, just deepening your level of acceptance for life as it is–is an incredible process—and active acceptance is the opposite of passive.
Taking charge of a Mars-Saturn Trine can be wonderful and healing in a water element. It could be a great companion to the water-fire square between Saturn-Jupiter/Venus. Using these energies in an integrated capacity for me looks like some water rituals. From making sure I drink plenty of water each day as both self-care and in a nod to astrological happenings, to actually blessing holy water on an altar and lighting a 7-day candle each week with intention, I will be performing a few ceremonies. On the July 31 Full Moon, I’ll light a candle for a Cancer intention (more emotional and focused on the home).
On August 8, I will light a candle focused on personal health goals, which is a combination of Leo and Virgo intentions. On August 11, Jupiter moves into Virgo after spending 13 months in Leo. It follows Mercury, which enters Virgo on August 7. On August 8, Mars moves into Leo. Leo is a celebration of the self, and a focus on the self. Virgo is a celebration of health. The Sun and Venus are also traveling through Leo and Virgo this month, so I believe it’s a great time to solidify and really celebrate0, and perhaps even share with some friends, the great habits we have learned for self-care over the past several years. Whether it is taking a hike, having a healthy dinner party, or a really fun camping trip—whatever is entirely fun and playful and at the same time makes every cell in our bodies sing and our energy bodies shine—it’s a great time to engage in these activities.
In fact, we’re being set up for several months of physical activity and healthy engagement with our bodies. We can ignore it or we can embrace it, but I’d say embracing it will help us feel much better! This summer and fall, Venus and Mars are in a dancing relationship where they are pulling close and then pushing apart but not very far apart. So I think they are really in partnership throughout the rest of the year. Like dance partners, the beauty is in the spaces and pauses between the two.
From August 27 to September 6, we have a Leo Venus-Mars Conjunction, and they’re Quincunx Pluto. This means the focus of their conjunction at this time will be on our personal passions and we might be feeling emotionally activated by this touch of energy. Pluto generally asks us to make adjustments in this configuration. Are things fair? Are we assertive, or are we overly aggressive?
Personally, I’m looking at anger and the whole realm of anger in my life, from conception forward—and I think the Saturn discussion from earlier plays into this, as well. It’s my “learning.” How flexible can I be in my thinking? Can I look at anger from perspectives other than my own? Can I understand, with every cell of my being—not just conceptually—that others are different than I am—and allow them their human fallibility? Can I accept others on their terms instead of my own—with very little stress to myself—thereby accepting myself on my own terms—as well? Now I can do these things in my mind all day long. It’s a very different thing to do this on a body (somatic or unconscious or pre-cognitive) level. That’s what Mars/Venus/Pluto and a little Saturn (learning) thrown in can help us with.
Mars/Venus/Pluto is also the classic romance and sex combination, so feel free to use this time as a romance-enhancer J It’s a good time to meet someone if you’re single, also. You can be aware of its potential for a good partnership to arrive.
Venus is turning direct in September, so Mars and Venus will separate for a little while and then be loosely connected throughout the Fall until they conjunct again in Virgo for a strong mind-body connection with Chiron right at Halloween. We are really in a beautiful setup here!
The Sun will also square Saturn this month, from August 18 through August 23, with the exact square happening on August 21. This adds even more highlight to the Leo and Virgo energies and occurs just as the Sun exits Leo and moves into Virgo. The sun illuminates things. It shows us where we should focus our attention. This month it tells us to focus on Saturn’s story. As if we could help but do so.
Some great times to pause for meditation and ritual will be August 14 and August 29—the times of the new Moon and full Moon. On August 14, the New Moon in Leo at approximately 9 AM MDT will conjunct the retrograde Venus and trine Uranus in Aries. Use this to solidify intentions for personal self-care and things that you want for yourself.
The full Moon at 6 degrees Pisces on August 29 at 12:34 PM MDT is set up to offer your spiritual wishes in a more universal connection to the divine. This is a holy time when you can connect into the oneness of existence because the moon will be conjunct Neptune. The sun will also be conjunct Jupiter, the planet of expansion. Any prayers you send on this day appear to have extra universal power. On the other hand, if you focus on lower energies, it could be very likely to have trouble with over-indulgence.
Final note: The Moon’s North Node is in Libra at this time, asking us to engage and enjoy the arts in the highest and most noble ways! With the Venus energy underlining our inner worlds, it’s a great time to explore our creativity and appreciate the work of others, as well. During August and September, we may find art pieces that we dearly love and now is a great time to go ahead and indulge (within reason and budget) in some cherished and inspirational items.
The Dimensions of Forgiveness and Letting Go
In cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, people learn to re-train their brains to think differently about a subject, based on research evidence. One of the books I’m reading about CBT addresses several subjects, including forgiveness. I was impressed by its summary of the aspects, or dimensions, of forgiveness and thought I would share what I learned with you this month.
See if you agree with these points about forgiveness:
- Forgiveness might be done for others or for oneself. The need to forgive usually starts with a transgression, an emotional reaction (guilt, anger, thoughts of betrayal, disbelief). Behavior can follow which might include avoidance, ruminations, and social interactions. Then there are physiological effects from a transgression—sleep, appetite, depression/anger, and cardiovascular arousal & blood pressure.
- Upon rationally determining they have been unfairly treated, people forgive when they willfully abandon resentment and related responses and endeavor to respond to the wrongdoer with beneficence, which may include compassion, unconditional worth, and generosity. [Enright and Fitzgibbons in 2000]
- Forgiveness is not forgetting, resignation, or passivity.
- Forgiveness is not necessarily reconciling.
- It’s not excusing or condoning.
- To forgive is not to “let time heal” or somehow balance the scales.
- It is an active, ongoing process that may take years and starts with a decision, a desire to forgive, or at least to begin that process.
- Forgiveness is done for the well-being of the person doing the forgiving.
A couple recent forgiveness studies gave some really interesting results! What do you think of these results?
- Stanford forgiveness project [Harris & colleagues, 2006] taught forgiveness classes—somatic quieting, anger management, habits of mind, taught personal health consequences of holding a grudge, redirect attention elsewhere, build empathy skills, see situation from different perspectives, see that other individuals are fallible, make mistakes, and may do things that may hurt others. Then they were taken through small steps to do easy forgiveness—not tackling the big transgressions—start with something easier.
- The intervention reduced negative thoughts and feelings 2-3 times toward the target transgression and increased positive feelings toward the transgressor.
- Helped forgiveness self-efficacy, forgiveness generalized to new situations
- Decreased stress
- Reduced trait anger
- Stanford study was adapted to look at issues specific to older adults. Study conducted by Allemand 2013 looked at adults with an average age of 70. Results of interventions:
- Found perceived reduction in transgression painfulness, cognitions, and emotions
- Decreased negative emotions
What are the predictors of forgiveness, e.g., how do you know you’re getting there or “what can you do with your mind when you’re going nuts over a transgression?” A correlative study that reviewed 26,000 studies says:
- Intention: having the intent to forgive
- Receiving an apology is a predictor of forgiveness: having the person who hurt us acknowledge and regret the action goes a long way toward helping us forgive them.
- The capacity for empathy: capacity to manage and control one’s own angry reaction.
- Cognitive skills
- Able to inhibit rumination: often if we’ve been angry or hurt, we ruminate about it. An individual who is able to step outside those ruminations is more likely to be able to forgive.
- Task-switching: switch tracks completely when triggered into memories
- Flexibility: step back and revise or rewrite your story
Personally, having permission to make the world into a larger picture and stop spending valuable time on past events is great for my life. Everybody makes serious mistakes in life, and I have, too. I love the practicality of this information and I hope you will, too!
Nourishment for the Body and Soul
Here is an idea for the extra basil and zucchini growing in leaps and bounds in the garden right now! Instead of frying these, they are baked. Also, they are a no-salt alternative, but packed with flavor!
Basil Zucchini Potato Pancakes
Yield: about 20-24 pancakes
3 white onions
3 peeled potatoes
3 small zucchini
1 bunch or 3-4 TBSP chopped fresh Basil
1 cup pistachio pieces
½ cup wheat germ
1-2 cups bread crumbs
About 6 TBSP of Grapeseed oil; 3 TBSP for each baking pan
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Chop onions into small pieces and place in large mixing bowl. Then, use a food processor to either shred or pulse the zucchini. Add into the mixing bowl. Peel the potatoes and shred or pulse them in the food processor as well. Add to mixture. Third, pulse the basil in the food processor and add into the mixing bowl as well.
Grind the nuts in a nut grinder and add into the mixture. Add wheat germ and eggs. Mix everything together with a big spoon. Then, add as many of the bread crumbs as needed until you can form the mixture into patties.
Put 3 TBSP of grapeseed oil into 2 each, 9 X 13 glass (Pyrex) baking dishes. Place 6 patties into each dish. Bake for approximately 15 minutes and then turn and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
Remove first batch onto a plate lined with a paper towel.
Bake the second batch.
These can be served immediately or warmed again as part of a feast!
Serving suggestion: Serve these with a flavorful chutney (I chose ginger-mango) and plain yogurt.
(Llewellyn also publishes the best selection of Tarot decks that I’ve discovered.)
Homeopathy and Core Synchronism have changed my life. First, I was immediately able to breathe after experiencing asthma-like symptoms for years. Many other improvements followed. Here are practitioners I recommend:
Eva Lipton-Ormand, CHoM, CCSP – in Albuquerque, NM
Elizabeth Battarbee of Flourish, Doctor of Homeopathy – available via Skype everywhere and in-person in Louisiana!
Elise Hensley, LISW, an amazing healer, specializing in EMDR and Neurofeedback. Elise is one of only a few people trained in Neurofeedback in our area. She is someone who is a skilled and amazing mentor. Better yet, your insurance may cover your sessions.