Last year, as the Sun entered Virgo I, I don’t think I had very much skill at writing a column. Since then, though, I’ve developed quite a bit in skill (and wordiness). Make of that what you will. However, if you’d like to see these columns continue, I ask that you consider supporting my Patreon account, which helps me support other artists and astrologers and designers.
At quarter to noon on August 22, the Sun enters the first decan of Virgo. High in the sky and climbing toward the Midheaven, the Sun holds the first post in the eleventh house, in a decan that Austin Coppock called The Tree Bearing Fruit. When the sun rises toward the height of the day, it’s a useful emblem to consider the sunlight retained in the apple, or the pear, or the peach — the plant has collected sunlight from the skies above, trace minerals from the earth below, and produced a child, progeny, a potential descendant, from the admixture of the two main components; fire and earth are united in juicy and enriched sweetness — the perfectly pregnant peach, ready to fall (and never far from its mother), to become the new child in turn. The moment of perfect ripeness is almost at hand: what will we do with the precious gift? Eat it whole? Sacrifice it to the soil? share it with another? Gift it to the earth? Patiently nurture it to become a new peach tree? How shall we take the gifts of the earth with gratitude, and make the whole earth new?
In Greco-Roman parlance, these ten days of late August belonged to Themis, the giver of the laws. Not the laws of human creation, but the laws of the more than human world — the laws that make mountain lion the predator, and the squirrel her prey. Likewise she governed the law of the artisan’s skill: not so much the idealized majesty of Vulcan’s masterpieces, but the potter who accumulates experience not by turning out perfect vases, but by sitting to the wheel day in and day out, accumulating practical wisdom a little at a time. If Themis has any great power, it is the way that practice builds on itself, day in and day out, and apprentices gradually outpace the master, and the master’s skills decline with age and dimming eyes. The work goes on, even if the human who does it passes on. In this sense, the next ten days speak to that sort of transitioning between one individual and the next — the apple falls from the tree and grows into a new tree… somehow different and yet the same. One master carpenter is very different from the next — but the toolkits they assemble bear a more than passing resemblance one to another. Squint a little, and they’re the same person, even when they’re different.
With the Ascendant in Scorpio, the sign of fixed water ruled by Mars (presently in Aries, a sign he rules), we can expect the next ten days or so to run emotionally hot, with serious waterworks and tempestuous or nostalgic meltdowns. Mars is cadent in the sixth house, promising a fever-dream of beautiful results, but failing in several ways to deliver on initial sparks. The rose is wilted, not burned. As the lord of the decan’s time, we look to any conflict or tension, or any alliance, with the prince of Virgo, the changeable and something-beyond-non-binary Mercury.
Mercury themselves occupies this self-same decan with the Sun, the Tree Bearing Fruit, preceding the golden day-star into Virgo. The sign of the virgin is called mutable earth, where deep changes occur on a practical level; where fruit ripens to the point where it drops (or squirrels steal it straight from the branch); where the harvest brings forth abundance at the cost of the dying of the green ones. In this configuration, neither Mercury nor Mars can see one another; they are unable to pass message to each other or engage in co-governance like a sovereign and a prime minister seeing eye-to-eye: signals are likely to be mis-read, and assumptions of mutual understanding are likely to be factually and emotionally off-base. Additionally, the Sun promises to hold their herald under the beams a while yet; we will usually assume that our own interpretation is correct, when that cannot be guaranteed.
Uranus sinks on the western horizon in the sign of Taurus ruled by Venus in Cancer. Although the queen of heaven holds the high ground in the ninth house, and in her own decan The Walled Garden, she is also under the Moon’s rulership… who is under Venus’s own guardianship in the middle decan of Libra, Two Links of Chain. Although our creative projects may need to be walled off for a time from all but our closest circle, there’s still the fecund beauty that arises when Venus holds court in one of her most-pleasant gardens: engage in creative activities and love-making — but not on OnlyFans; this is private time. With the Moon and Venus mutually receiving one another yet still in a separating square, the two are like best friends lately caught up in some fight or squabble; they’ve promised alliance, but still look askance and with glaring eye when they think they’re unobserved. Uranus the punk revolutionary looks on in mild amusement, as he plans still more ribald amusements that bring yet more instability to our relationships with paramours and business colleagues.
The axis of the North Node and South Node passes from a lessening of our financial good fortunes in the Horse’s Skull of Sagittarius (where the South Node keeps company with the Lot of Fortune, our regular marker of money-luck and fortunate circumstances), toward The Executioner’s Sword in the sign of Gemini. Here the North Node promises that the check is in the mail (probably delayed), but so is the bill (right on time). Money-cautions abound in this chart, none more so than this one. Sagittarius or mutable fire, and Gemini or mutable air, both promise changes in people’s fortunes over the next ten days, and the answer to “where’s the money??” is “someone else has got it.”
Looking to mutable water, the realm of Pisces, we find Neptune the lord of waters retrograding slowly back into the middle decan, The Net. I’ve come to associate Neptune in the middle decan with a surge in “fake news” and propaganda, particularly as regards the internet and various social media sites on it. For at least the next ten days, regard with caution or even downright suspicion all your usual sources of information, and recognize that although it may feel like you’re in control of the news when you’re sitting at the computer… remember that lots of people lie to the King on the Throne, if only to save their own necks.
Speaking of The Throne, that’s the decan at the end of Capricorn, where Jupiter and Saturn currently besiege Pluto in a blockade of grace and cruelty. Pluto is the revealer of toxicity — blowing small matters out of all proportion, shrinking mountains to molehills, and damaging both esteem and selves; the sticks and stones, and the words, can both hurt — and currently this master of all we try to keep hidden is facing full frontal assault, besieged in our home. We’re all likely bound at our desks more than we’d like these days, writing and writing and working and working, sending emails and directives to colleagues, receiving the same back again, and the whole time dealing with the challenges of dog and cat, children and elders, all under one roof. We’re at home, but responsible to orders from elsewhere; able to go to the fridge any time and eat our own food — but not on the boss’s 11am meeting, please! And there’s still a pile of work to get done. This position invites us to consider and review old habits and structures, and prepare to redirect all this pent-up energy… eventually. For now, it’s stuck.
Finally, the Moon at 18° Libra is showing her new moon crescent invisibly in the sky, but she’ll gleam on the western horizon tonight, promising a rebalancing. In the decan called Two Links of Chain, she considers the weights in the scales and actively measures out the proper amount of alone time and community sing-along, with perhaps one thumb on the scale slightly tilted toward alone. The silver night-lady, by tropical position, resides at present in the Sixteenth Mansion of the Moon, “the Claws”, advises us to stay at home, to protect our resources, to profit from careful transactions, and to keep emotional as well as physical distance. Yet by the sidereal reckoning, she holds court in latter degrees of the Thirteenth Mansion — the place of ardent sexual congress in the innermost recesses of the palace, away from prying eyes. The night-queen invites us to join to our most beloved partners, away from the crowds, unmasked and delighting in one another’s arousal.
Thus the first decan of Virgo speaks — inviting us to still remain alone, together, aware of our place in the longer patterns of humanity yet still attuned to the work that must be done in the present time.
Rising Sign Horoscopes
Scorpio: An unlucky situation causes financial difficulties in the next ten days; you may have to borrow money to get through this, but don’t be a jerk about it — gratitude rather than attitude toward benefactors and non-contributors both is valuable. Some family members or neighbors are going through a hard time: be sympathetic, but maintain appropriate boundaries; focus on your own learning or development. Your relationship, if you have one, is going through a long-term shift; right now you’re focused on talking yourself into a heightened role, but your partner just wants reliable commitment to everyday tasks. Some brief bedroom entertainments aren’t going to fix a messy living room. Trouble at work? Try to set your heart on learning to do one aspect of your job unusually well, and commit to loving that.
Sagittarius: Money troubles at this time likely seem like a personal failure — it’s not, but accept that you’re going to have to live within some limits. You’re probably horny, but also feeling isolated from friends, and troubled by a growing responsibility to familial management that carries both grace and trouble. In a perfect world, you’d have friends over for rich and interesting conversation: you could solve the troubles of the nation over coffee or wine, remember? For now, find happiness in what you’re doing at home, but be aware of the problems of time management; even your hobbies have a cut-off time. A partner may be working through some shifts in daily responsibilities and commitments; while your shared finances are doing well, you may feel like you’re not doing enough to contribute — a creative, successful solution involves establishing firmer boundaries and striving for a well-contained luxury within. Friends and allies are admiring your learning and skills, but they may not be ready to commit to paying for your services yet.
Capricorn: Right now, being in charge must be exhausting — in ever-expanding family responsibilities, in watching out for the neighborhood, in finishing the “to do” list at home… You’re likely discovering things about yourself that you don’t much like — and wishing you could just get a little more ‘me’ time to work on some solo discoveries or find a way to make a bit more money: that would be both divine, and practical! Your partner if you’ve got one may have taken up a new hobby, and practices obsessively; your own inclinations are more to sensual pleasures that don’t seem to have a home right now — and you have labors that require definitive action. You might consider taking a class with a friend to work off some of that energy.
Aquarius: Dreaming of a house of your own? Sounds both divine, and down to earth. Your skills and capacities are currently engaged in cordoning off some quiet time for yourself, though, within the topsy-turvy world of an ever-evolving money situation, an argumentative matter with your neighbors (possibly over the placement of some bushes), and a partner who wants to reorganize everything. There’s more time for fun, it seems, particularly finishing off a project here and there; but you’re likely aware that these executions come at the expense of time that would be better spent with friends or associates — even if you shouldn’t be with them. Might be worth calling someone up and at least talking through your next career move.
Pisces: Every aspect of your life seems to involve dissecting what’s true and what’s false on the internet these days; you’re not only doing this for yourself, but also for all your friends — and it’s stirring up all sorts of drama and ugliness as you review what’s going on in these people’s heads. You’re only trying to protect them, right? It’s worth evaluating if it really gives you pleasure to be right, though. And recognize: you wouldn’t be able to do this if work wasn’t cutting your hours; but maybe that’s okay, if it gives you more time to have fun. Don’t let the time go to waste, though: reconnect with your creative self, or at least with your kids — it would be nice to win at least some temporary praise for your inventive side. A partner, if you have one, is entering a creatively-useful period in their lives — arranging social occasions that provide the right kind of social engagement without crowding them will bear useful fruit.
Aries: You’ve found your passion project and you’re giving it your all on a daily basis, though the insights that the project has led to, also have a couple of unusual surprise expenses associated with them. Try to keep track of what this is costing you— and recognize that your partner (if you’ve got one) is asking reasonable questions about your expenses, not asking you to betray the revolution. Solo time is likely getting weird; staying off the computer as a source of fun may be the solution. Dreaming of time with friends at home, and feeling like you’re winning the “shut-in prize” for how little you go out, carries some benefit. Your workplace analytical work may achieve some sudden breakthrough these next ten days, but a thorough review of the numbers (even with that dude you loathe) is warranted. You and your partner may just be able to get some nookie in, as well… if you can find some privacy. That may not be easy.
Taurus: You’re establishing some complicated boundaries around family right now (probably with your partner’s kin if you’ve got them). And you’ve got a burning need to set the house in order, to keep it pristine, and to achieve (at last!) the perfect quarantine-zone. Your partner, if you have one, is likely doing the same things over and over as a job, and yet you’re earning more money than they are right now; they’re beating a dead horse for the same financial payout. Make sure that you’re getting enough sunshine, and enough (socially distanced) time with friends. You should also focus some of your own daily work on the protection of the resources you already have.
Gemini: More decisiveness! Seems like every day you have to make more and more of the decisions, especially if you have a partner. It’s fortunate for you that they have resources enough for both of you, but the way that capacity gets squeezed these days brings a lot of poisonous juice to the surface. Feel your way toward a generous protection of resources, and re-balance your sensual and grasping natures through some solitary play. Recognize, as well, that you have some work to do around your responsibilities to your ancestors, and to the legacies that they’ve left to you. Your partner (again if you’ve got one), sees your loneliness and a possible recent fight with a friend — and will try to create practical home-life experiences that ease the turmoil.
Cancer: Learning something new requires setting boundaries, and creating a vibrant and verdant experience within those boundaries. You get to do this, with a temporary crown of honor at the end, over the next ten days. First, though, you may have to have a talk with a neighbor about their garden; your analysis of certain problems may be well received… but it might be a good idea to bring a close ally along for the ride, just in case. You’re probably not too good with people these days; they’re either delightful company (if they’re close relatives or ‘like blood’ friends), but other people you just want to cut down to size. A partner (if you’ve got one) is experiencing a bit of a revolution in their extended network of friends and associates — leaving some people behind, and collecting others — your participation in this process is likely to be valuable to them, but you should expect that it will sometimes carry a discomforting sensual tension. Your boss is angry, ranting fury for some reason; it’s not likely to be your fault, but conducting a preliminary review of your recent projects is worthwhile, especially if nothing else is currently clogging your throughput.
Leo: Some temporary kudos are coming your way, but probably not as much as you hoped for, nor as much as you wanted — a thank you note, not a trophy nor even a certificate. A relative or super-close friend consults with you about a business matter that they want to keep private; you may have an opportunity for a sexual encounter with an old intimate, but it’s unlikely to be as satisfying as the dream. Daily work seems to involve getting your butt in the seat at your desk for a certain amount of time every day, but it’s stirring up some ugliness and difficulty; you may be feeling like there’s too little time, and too much fortune, tied up in flogging this project along. Turn your creative efforts to a new solo project, one that’s more emotionally rewarding; or try writing erotica. Your partner if you have one may get an un-looked-for offer of work.
Virgo: Shine your analytical light on how you communicate with friends in the current moment and place. Are you delivering the best advice you could be giving right now? Are you being too much the advice machine? In financial terms, you’re working on protecting your resources; link by link, you’re connecting what you have to what you earn. At the same time, there’s some necessary conversations with both family members and close/intimate friends that would do you a world of good; you know who can keep a secret, and who will speak in confidence. Your home life may be going through some tightening and constraints beyond your control; good fortune will eventually come from this, but right now you may feel like you’re riding a dead horse — no amount of encouragement or whipping will make this beast of a problem move on. If you have no partner, a surprise connection over the internet may bloom into something intriguing — but take care not to get burned by an offer to share expenses too early. if you do have a partner, they’re taking (or possibly re-taking) a class of material they should have learned already, or making a trip to resolve issues that should have been dealt with a long time ago — try a revolutionary approach, and become their study-buddy and make the journey to help them get through it.
I now have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it continues its second year. I use Patreon funds (as well as my own funds) to support artists and artisans and thinkers that I regard as contributing to the well-being of the world.
I use iPhemeris for my charting software, and screenshot it to make charts. I want to thank the team that develops iPhemeris for the addition of Terms and Decans to their charts, appearing here for the first time!
I use Christopher Warnock‘s The Mansions of the Moon as the basis of my Moon placement delineations, and Austin Coppock‘s 36 Faces as the basis of much of my planetary delineations. Neither gentleman endorses me. My own book, A Full Volume of Splendour and Starlight, is now available as PDF download from my Etsy website.
Any errors in these columns are my own.
If you’d like to schedule a consultation with me, you can find additional information on the Services and Classes page.
If you want to read some of my other astrologically-oriented poetry, To the Mansions of the Moon is a collection of hymns to the angels of the Mansions mentioned in these columns. For the Behenian Stars is a collection of hymns to the first/brightest sixteen stars. The Sun’s Paces are hymns to the thirty-six Hellenistic-era deities and ascended souls of the Greco-Egyptian Decans-calendar. While not astrological, Festae contains hymns to some of the older Roman gods and spirits from the calendar created by Numa Pompilius, the second ancient King of Rome.