• Search
  • Lost Password?
The Astrology Podcast

Ep. 411 Transcript: Astrology Forecast for August 2023

The Astrology Podcast

Transcript of Episode 411, titled:

Astrology Forecast for August 2023

With Chris Brennan and guests Austin Coppock and Michael J. Morris

Episode originally released on July 30, 2023


Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: theastrologypodcast@gmail.com

Transcribed by Andrea Johnson

Transcription released August 14th, 2023

Copyright © 2023 TheAstrologyPodcast.com

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hey, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. In this episode we’re gonna be talking about the astrological forecast for August of 2023. Joining me today are astrologers Austin Coppock and Michael J. Morris. Welcome, both of you.

AUSTIN COPPOCK: Hello, hello.

MICHAEL J. MORRIS: Thank you so much.

CB: All right, so I’m gonna give a quick overview of the month ahead over the next minute. Then for the first hour of this episode we’re gonna review news and events and check in on how the astrology has worked out since our last forecast. Then in the second hour of this episode we’re gonna talk about the astrology of August itself and look forward to the future. So if people want to just jump ahead to the forecast then you can find timestamps on theastrologypodcast.com website. So let’s go ahead and jump right into it. So here’s the Planetary Movements Calendar that shows where the planets will start at the beginning of the month and how far through the signs of the zodiac they’ll get by the end of the month. And here is the Planetary Alignments Calendar that shows us the astrology of August.

Our first major astrological aspect of the month is a Full Moon in the sign of Aquarius on August 1. And of course the month opens with Venus is still in the early phases of her retrograde cycle that started way back on July 22 very recently. And then in the third week of August we get one of our first major alignments, which is the Sun-Venus cazimi, which is exactly halfway through the Venus retrograde cycle on August 13. Then on the 16th of August we have a New Moon in the sign of Leo. On the 22nd Mars opposes Neptune in Pisces. Then the next day the Sun moves into Virgo while Mercury stations retrograde in the same sign of Virgo on the 23rd. The following week Mars ingresses or moves into the sign of Libra and departs from Virgo. Then the next day, on the 28th, Uranus stations retrograde in Taurus. And then two days later we get our third lunation of the month, which is a Full Moon in the sign of Pisces on the 30th of August. So we’ll be talking about that and a bunch of other astrology during the course of this episode. All right, welcome both of you to the podcast. Michael, thanks for joining us. This is your second time on the podcast, but first time doing a forecast episode.

MJM: Yeah, thanks for having me back. It feels like so much has happened since the last time I was here. But the last episode we did together is something that I still get a lot of people talking about and commenting and bringing up with me. We did an episode on transgender experiences in astrology, which was Episode 279 of The Astrology Podcast. And so, if folks haven’t listened to that episode, it seems like it’s a valuable resource for a lot of folks, and it was a real delight to record that with you. And I feel like it’s good work that we did that’s continuing to circulate in the world. And, yeah, and then a lot has happened since then.

CB: Yeah, that was a super important episode that we did way back in late 2020, which is not actually that long ago, but also in another way it feels like a lifetime ago which is kind of crazy at this point.

MJM: Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel. It feels like 10 years ago.

CB: Yeah. Austin, how about you? Has it felt like a lifetime since our last time doing a forecast episode last month?

AC: I wish.

CB: You wish. How’s the astrology treating you? Are you enjoying watching the different Venus retrograde stories?

AC: Yeah, I noted a disturbance in the ‘Venusian’ force really towards the beginning of July, just seeing things going in a different trajectory. We were surprised, gifted peacocks at the end of last month. And so, my looking out the window and seeing a peacock like 20 times a day has been a very constant meditative reminder of Venus retrograde in Leo. Two of them are like adolescent juveniles, and then one of them is an adult male who has the full glory and is constantly doing a display. And so, that sort of puffing up and trying to create a dramatic appearance all the time—my working metaphor or thought image, or image to think on for the Venus retrograde, was this peacock in full display, seeing himself in our windows and attacking himself, thinking that it was a rival. Like, “Who’s that beautiful bird? Obviously there can be only one.”

With Venus in general, for a very long time in a lot of contexts, we often see Venus with a mirror in hand, right? The mirror is both a practical item as well as a magical tool. And then especially with this one brewing in Leo—which is especially about sight and self and image—just seeing the peacock super engaged with its own image and threatened by how splendid its own image is, I don’t know, it’s been really interesting. And then another layer of that is he keeps displaying to the window and is very frustrated because he’s an incel. All he wants is to mate and there’s nobody around who gives a shit. And so, I have this daily meditation on the frustrated ‘incel’ peacock staring at himself in the mirror and like trying to get bigger and more impressive. And yet, every time he does that, the peacock in the mirror does the same thing. I don’t know, it felt very rich.

CB: Well, speaking of ‘incel’ peacocks, I mean, we’ll come to that or circle around to that imagery later when we talk about the rebranding of Twitter under the Venus retrograde. But let’s talk about that—let’s get into some news stories right now. There’s been just so many different news stories or stories in the news that relate to the Venus retrograde that I’ve been kind of caught off guard—and kind of not surprised ‘cause we’ve been talking about this and hyping up this Venus retrograde for months now. Ever since our forecast back in December we knew it was gonna be a big one. But I’m surprised at how literal and how evocative many of the different Venus retrograde stories are.

So I want to talk about one of them first, which is what a lot of people have been talking about, ‘cause it ended up being a really striking correlation, which is the release of these two big, blockbuster movies on the same day, on July 21, which was within 24 hours of the Venus retrograde station at 28° of Leo. And the most notable and sort of obvious one that ended up lining up with that was the release of the Barbie movie, which ended up being just this huge smash hit and also just really striking in terms of astrological symbolism, that this move was released on a Venus retrograde in the sign of Leo, literally, like the same day. That’s pretty literal—even if you haven’t seen the movie—on the surface level. Venus retrograde in Leo, and somebody releases a Barbie movie, right?

MJM: Mm-hmm.

AC: Yeah.

CB: You could say?

AC: Yeah, very much. One thing in particular that we saw with some other figures tied to this cycle is that Venus in Leo, it’s the place of the Sun, and there’s so much about Barbie that is kind of a beach or sunny aesthetic. Like the attitude is sunny and positive and can-do. I haven’t seen the movie but the doll franchise. But the sun-soaked aesthetics are very clear, right? There’s lots of ‘beachiness’. It’s from that California-centric phase of American culture.

CB: Yeah. And as the only person here I think that’s seen the Barbie movie so far—‘cause I felt like I needed to do my research and experience what the cultural moment was—I’m the resident ‘Barbieologist’. So I’m gonna hit you all with some Barbie astrology facts really quickly, if you would humor me for a few minutes.

MJM: Sure.

CB: All right, here we go. So Venus stationed retrograde the same day that the movie was released. The movie actually had many themes that were very evocative of Venus retrograde, including themes surrounding feminism, patriarchy, motherhood, what it’s like to be a woman, independence from men, the contradictions of being a woman. Aging, appearance, death, and a bunch of other things. So it ended up being surprisingly subversive. And before I went into both movies—‘cause I actually saw Barbie and Oppenheimer—I assumed that Barbie would more manifest the Venus retrograde and Oppenheimer would manifest the Mars-Saturn opposition or the Sun-Pluto opposition that was happening simultaneously. But I was pleasantly surprised because Barbie actually ended up having some pretty serious, deep and profound themes at the same time that drew in not just the Venus retrograde, but also the Sun opposite Pluto and the Mars opposite Saturn with some of those really heavy contradictions, as well as a focus on, on the one hand, subversion or subversiveness, as well as this theme of both/and, or this notion that multiple things can be true at the same time.

So the movie was wildly successful and it ended up being the biggest opening for a woman director in history with over $150 million, so that in and of itself is notable on the Venus retrograde. But get this—the director, Greta Gerwig, was actually born on August 4, 1983, which was the day that Venus stationed retrograde in the same Venus retrograde cycle because in 1983 it went retrograde in Virgo and then retrograded back to Leo. So if you count in eight-year increments, where Venus goes retrograde in the same signs every eight years, you come to this year. So the director who had the biggest opening for a woman director of all time currently was born under the same Venus retrograde as that movie was released under, which is just incredibly striking astrology. Other things—so this is very similar actually to Mark Hamill, for example, who was born around the time of Venus stationing direct, and Star Wars was actually released when Venus stationed direct at the same time.

So Barbie was originally released in 1959, in March of 1959, but it was actually a flop. I was reading a biography about the founder, and it wasn’t successful when she first debuted Barbie at a toy expo. After that she was really disappointed and kind of depressed for the next few months, but then all of a sudden, a few months later, Venus went retrograde in the signs of Virgo and Leo, the exact same signs that it’s in now. And over the course of that summer—through a variety of different things—Barbie all of a sudden took off and became wildly successful. So I actually found this amazing quote in one biography that describes that. Here it is: “As schools began to close for the summer, however, Mattel got calls from buyers wanting Barbie dolls. For Ruth, the creator of Barbie, it must have felt like the roller coaster of a previous toy release all over again. After [the] Toy Fair, she had remained conservative with the orders for Barbie dolls sent to her Japanese manufacturers.” “In the toy business,” Ruth said, “you live or die with the quality of the projection you make. Your lead times are very long, and the commitments you make very early influence how much you make or ship and whether you get stuck with what you do.

So it goes on and says: “She was trying not to get stuck with Barbies when suddenly she had the opposite problem. The demand skyrocketed as the effect of the television advertising, free time for summer play, and the novelty of the doll propelled girls to pester their parents for Barbie.” “The industry was just going frantic with demand for Barbie,” Ruth remembered. “The buyers who had been uninterested at [the] Toy Fair earlier that year when it launched were now clamoring to get the doll. Little girls wanted to play at being big girls, just as Ruth had guessed.” And this is the same exact Venus retrograde that’s happening right now with the movie release, which is just like amazingly striking astrology and is a good reminder that Venus retrogrades, when they happen, they can sometimes refer back to the past and connect events that happened in the past either generally speaking or sometimes very directly chronologically in eight-year increments basically.

AC: Yeah, it’s wild. So I bumped into a Barbie Venus retrograde in Leo factoid while doing other research. Certain archetypes are very insistent right now. So I read an article that said that the aesthetic that the Barbie movie is based on was introduced in 1975 and ran until 1991, right? There have been different aesthetic waves in ‘Barbiedom’. And of course 1975, Venus retrograde in Leo. 1991, Venus retrograde in Leo, right? So even the phases of Barbie is like this for ‘x’ amount of time, two retrograde cycles in a row, the beginning and ending, on the Venus in Leo; Virgo/Leo.

CB: Yeah, that’s pretty amazing.

MJM: And there’s something pretty striking, this being such a massive box office success for a woman director, first time breaking records and that happening on a retrograde.

CB: Right.

MJM: If we think about classical interpretations of retrogrades it’s things being delayed or things moving backwards or things being retracted that have been given, things like that. And yet, under these conditions what we see is maybe social forces around access to success or fame or reputation being reversed in some way. A kind of like social or cultural trend moving in the opposite direction with the release of this film, something like that.

CB: Yeah.

MJM: And at the same time I was saying this to Chris earlier—I haven’t seen the film so I can’t really comment on the content in the film—but what I’ve seen unfolding on social media is conversation about it, and the complexity of the ways in which it’s being held or heralded as a real feminist triumph for a feminist film, and then also other people critiquing the ways in which it adopts some feminist tropes but ultimately in service to marketing a brand of toys that have been critiqued for several decades about the detrimental impact they have on girls who grow up to be women, and the ways in which it imposes certain ideals not only about body image or beauty norms or beauty ideals, but also who is supposed to play with what. Like even in the quote that you just shared, Chris, the ways in which girls were pestering their parents to have Barbies.

And so, Barbie, in and of itself, has been an instrument within culture of sorting ‘girls are supposed to play with this’, ‘boys are supposed to play with that’. And, yeah, just thinking about the ways in which the retrograde, this retrograde, lining up with this film is inviting some of those conversations to be revisited or reviewed or reevaluated. Are these the norms that we want to perpetuate in our society? Whether or not the film perpetuates them, one way or another, that the conversations are coming out around the release of the film just feels striking to me in terms of, yeah, just reevaluating what kind of society we want to be, especially around issues of femininity and gender more broadly.

CB: Yeah. And one of the interesting things that happened at the same time in the film itself is that it was made by essentially an indie film director who’s been coming up over the past several years, and who put many of those discussions like front and center in the film itself. And so, that’s another reason. It’s like a lot of people now are reflecting and thinking about and talking about a lot of these things, which is one of the reasons I think it’s important for astrologers to pay attention to what’s happening in culture. ‘Cause one of the many hats that astrologers wear is being a cultural historian and having your pulse on what are people talking about now, ‘cause it often reflects the archetypes of what’s actually happening and those discussions that are taking place right now under this.

MJM: Austin, you started to say something.

AC: Yeah, I was just gonna say all of these issues sort of come into focus through Barbie in Barbie as an image. Like it’s literally a mannequin, like a poppet with certain proportions and features, etc., etc. And with Leo—with fire signs in general, but especially with Leo—so much information is condensed into an image, right? What I found accidentally that I think is very complementary to the issues that Barbie raised is I accidentally found out that almost all of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career is also anchored to the Venus retrograde in Leo. So there’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, but Arnold Schwarzenegger stands in for a whole style of masculinity that was hyper-visible during the ‘80s and ‘90s, and of course with Venus retrograde in Leo. And so, there was a big, three-part docuseries reviewing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s life and all this on Netflix, and I saw that, and I wanted to rewatch Pumping Iron, which was a documentary about bodybuilding, but a much lauded documentary about bodybuilding that was filmed in 1975. I was like, “This feels like Venus retrograde in Leo research,” right? And so, as Kait and I are watching it, she pulls up the chart for when it’s being filmed, and Venus is retrograde in Leo, right?

And what was interesting about that is that in 1975, it was before the bodybuilder aesthetic was the norm or laudable or admirable in Hollywood. You didn’t see male leads having that physique. And Arnold actually complains about it briefly ‘cause he’s trying to get acting work. This was before he’s a movie star, right? And they don’t want anybody who’s like 6’2” and 250 lbs, right? They’re like, “No, Dustin Hoffman is a male lead, not you.” And then you can follow the Venus retrograde. His biggest movie was two Venus retrogrades later in 1991, that was Terminator 2, etc., etc. But it was really interesting to see both Barbie and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Arnold Schwarzenegger who ended up basically being the template, the ratio template for the action figure and the action hero. And what struck me is it’s not until basically very recently that this retrograde didn’t start in Virgo, right? So with Virgo we’re looking at something much more mercurial, mathematical. You think of the action hero and you think of the Barbie and they’re mathematical ratios and proportions that define those body images. And so, noticing Arnold moving on the same cycle was really interesting.

And then by complete accident I saw something in my YouTube feed. Hulk Hogan came up and I was like, “What if Hulk Hogan and wrestling is also moving on the Venus retrograde in Leo?” And sure enough, yes, ‘Hulkamania’ officially began during the 1983 retrograde and arguably reached its height in 1991. He was married during a Venus retrograde in Leo. He was divorced during a Venus retrograde in Leo. He had his 2015 racial slur scandal during a Venus retrograde and that was in Leo. And then that was based on a recording done, a sex tape, that was recorded during the previous Venus retrograde in Leo, right? And so, as I told Chris yesterday, I was like, “Physically-absurd blonds seem to be a real theme with this Venus retrograde cycle.”

MJM: And I literally was pulling this up as you were talking because you were talking about the rise of hyper-muscular bodybuilder image in Hollywood especially. And I was just remembering things that I learned in grad school about the rise of bodybuilding culture, and in a lot of ways it had been co-opted from queer culture that had already been hyper-fixated on these beefcake kinds of men. And there was a specific magazine called Physique Pictorial that was one of the first beefcake mags for looking at sexy men who were all beefed up and wearing tiny shorts or thongs and things like that, and it was first released in 1951, which is one of the Venus retrograde years. I’m not gonna go and dig into what month the first year issue came out, but just even that correlation of being able to trace this bodybuilding physique that you’re identifying with Schwarzenegger and Hulk Hogan—being able to trace it back even further to this gay, beefcake magazine in 1951 just feels like there’s something there for someone to dig into if you’re looking for a physique, queer culture history/project.

AC: Yeah, a hundred percent. I wasn’t born until 1979, so by the time I was watching TV you had He-Man and Arnold and Sylvester Stallone, right? That was just present as if it had always been, but it was even a bit of subculture during the 1975 documentary. It’s like right before it goes mainstream. And one of the things that I was struck by was that this is wholly Venusian, right? There’s an aesthetic of function but it’s literally all of the competitions. It’s not who can lift the most weight or do the most push-ups, it’s not about the ability to perform a task—it’s a hundred percent aesthetic. And then when I was looking—

CB: Idealized aesthetics.

AC: Yeah, I mean, it’s idealized in a particular direction along certain criteria.

CB: And I’m just using that phrase ‘cause that’s the parallel with Barbie.

AC: Oh, yeah, yeah, exactly. And then this was further emphasized to me when I looked at Arnold’s chart, and he has Venus on the rising. And I was like, “Oh, yeah.” He’s not an action hero. He was a champion in an aesthetic competition for many years and then moved on to be an acting performer, right? It’s not a Mars-driven nativity; the aesthetic might be martial. What’s funny, he actually has a really nice Saraswati yoga, which dominates the chart, which gives a great career in the arts. And I was like, “Of course. Of course he does. He’s had a great career in the arts.” But it was really interesting because with the bodybuilding, again, it’s an aesthetic of function. And a lot of them are quite strong, but it’s not a strength competition. And I was like, no, this is primarily in the realm of Venus. This is a sub-realm of Venus. This isn’t Mars’ or Saturn’s domain.

But, yeah, I’m sure there are people who have the math for the ‘Barbie’ proportions, the ‘Arnold’ proportions ‘cause you have to create them to create action figures, which were the Barbies marketed to the little boys. And, also, blonds and then ‘sun-soaked’ aesthetic—the famous location of the bodybuilders was Venice Beach where Arnold actually was. And I found out recently that Hulk Hogan claimed to be from Venice Beach even though he’s a Florida guy, but that was what people read as the ‘California, blond, tanned, muscle dude,’ right? The idea originates—or the idea’s anchored to a place. And so, in order to anchor himself to the idea, he was like, “Oh, yeah, I’m from there,” rather than Wherever, Florida.

CB: Venice Beach plays a major plot point in the Barbie movie. And actually Ken’s professional designation in the movie is that he ‘does beach’.

MJM: Sure.

CB: So that’s a really funny parallel. So going back to that actually, the Ken doll was released under an actual Venus retrograde. Venus stationed retrograde when the Ken doll was released. But the founder, Ruth Handler, always made it so that they never got married and that Barbie never had kids because she said she wanted to emphasize Barbie’s independence and ability to pursue other careers outside of relationships or marriage or conventional things like that, so there’s some interesting Venus retrograde themes there. And I meant to mention the book I quoted from earlier. It’s titled, Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman who Created Her, by Robin Gerber. And here’s the chart. Just going back to that, for the director Greta Gerwig who now has become this huge director with the release of this film, with Venus there stationary at 9° of Virgo, it just stationed in this cycle in Leo. And then the person who originally was behind the movie and driving it—it was created by her production company—was Margot Robbie, who was born with Cancer rising, and Leo is her 2nd house of finances.

And I was researching this, and at first it didn’t make sense ‘cause I looked up how much was she paid for Barbie thinking it would be a lot, but it was $12 million, which didn’t sound like a lot to me for a movie that just made over the weekend $150 million. And they said that her co-star Ryan Gosling was paid the same thing to play Ken. But then I looked into it more and I saw that it was actually Margot Robbie’s production that produced this. So she was the primary producer and the one who drove the movie. So what just happened partially is Venus just went retrograde in her 2nd house. And she probably just became extremely, extremely wealthy, much more than she was before because her production company just had its first huge, mega blockbuster, which is just doing crazy numbers, and Venus went retrograde in her 2nd house of finances and wealth.

MJM: Can you put Greta Gerwig’s chart back up?

CB: Yeah. And this is an untimed chart ‘cause we don’t know her birth time.

MJM: Oh, so the houses are not—

CB: No, no.

MJM: Okay. Well, then I’m not gonna comment on all the things that stand out to me, but I was struck by having Venus in Virgo. If it’s in fact a day chart there’s something so fascinating about Venus in Virgo because it’s in its fall, but it’s also in it’s primary triplicity rulership. And so, there’s this thing that happens of finding support from people who really believe in what you’re doing, who are your supporters, your followers, your advocates, your patrons—and that’s the triplicity side of things—but maybe in a way that’s not so mainstream. In a way that’s like going against—and that’s the Venus in fall side of things. It’s like what does it mean to find your wave or your wind or your current in a place that’s maybe going against mainstream culture in some way, or at the very least maybe at the margins of what other people are paying attention to? And so, anytime I see that Venus in Virgo placement, if it’s in a day chart—I mean, even if it’s in a night chart it’s still got some triplicity. But especially in a day chart there’s this complex thing that happens there that’s interesting.

CB: Yeah. And, also, Mercury’s there as well conjunct in Virgo.

MJM: Right.

CB: And she was also a writer of the movie.

MJM: Oh, I didn’t know that. Yeah, okay.

CB: So she’s like a writer/director. So that just goes to your point even more.

MJM: Well, and Mercury having so much dignity in Virgo, which we will probably talk about a bit more later in this episode.

CB: Yeah, so that’s very similar. And the last thing is Aerin Fogel pointed out that the Venus stationing retro also fit with the release because Barbie’s kind of a throwback. It’s like a doll from the 1950s, which even itself when released was a throwback. Because it’s like the creator was sort of like idealizing movies from the 1950s and idealized what men-centric views of women were in Hollywood from the 1950s. So even once Barbie was released in 1959, it immediately started running up against second-wave feminism in the 1960s that was very critical of it and critiqued it. And that was one of the things that was interesting about the director when asked if she grew up with Barbie. And she said that her mom was very skeptical of Barbie growing up, so that when she was introduced to Barbie, she was also introduced to the critiques or counterpoints of it at the same time, and some of those contradictions are very much in the film. Anyway, so it was just a ton of cool astrology and other stuff. I will not continue to go on about Barbie. And I’m glad, Austin, you balanced it out with Arnold Schwarzenegger and other stuff.

AC: I prefer to think that I enriched the discussion.

CB: Yeah.

AC: I have one more point, just that we have these powerful images whether it’s the action figure or the Barbie doll. And it’s gotten me thinking—maybe because of my ‘peacock’ training—about how do we relate to these images, to really charged images, right? Because on a purely aesthetic level you can find something appealing or interesting or visually enjoyable without feeling like you need to be it, right? That happens all the time. But there are images that I think have had a very strong ability to compel people to match them, or there’s a pull there, there are hooks there, so we have a lot of people judging themselves relative to those images.

And I actually just watched something the other day by a clinical researcher about body dysmorphia with bodybuilders, which gets jokingly called ‘bigorexia’.. And a lot of them will literally look at ‘classic’ Arnold and then compare themselves and be like, “Ooh, not good enough. Need to keep going. Need to keep going.” And we obviously have these images in relationship to the Barbie figure. And it just got me thinking about how do we relate to images that we find appealing or ideal or aspirational. Is there a way to appreciate an aesthetic without feeling dominated by it—that’s great that that’s a look, that’s one of the good looks, or an interesting look—but without being put in a psychological position where we are judging others or ourselves in relationship to that as the center of aesthetic value?

MJM: Well, and I think of Venus retrograde as such an ideal time to be asking those exact kinds of questions. Not only is it possible to appreciate something aesthetically without either identifying with it or comparing oneself to it, or comparing and criticizing other people to it. Definitely be asking those questions and then also maybe larger questions of what are the conditions such that these particular images do compel us towards identification and comparison and criticism and self-criticism. What is it socially in terms of how we interact with these images or these toys or these action figures or these bodybuilders or these magazines? Like what is it within our larger social conditions that make us or compel us to feel as if these images are part of our own self-image in some way, that our self-image is defined in relation to these? And because Venus is retrograde, which is an ideal time to be reviewing and reflecting and reevaluating and reassessing specifically things around aesthetics, I think those are great questions to be bringing to the table right now, Austin.

AC: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And what values or virtues or qualities are loaded into the aesthetics, right?

MJM: Right.

AC: Okay, so I find that intimidating, or I find that appealing. What intimidates about that? What appeals about that? Is it because it’s a representation of elegance, of strength? If I have an aspirational/oppressive relationship with an image, what is it that you would like to embody that that image is communicating?

CB: And something you had mentioned earlier, Michael, made me think of how Nick always refers to Venus retrograde. His primary phrase is ‘challenging consensus’. But I’ve noticed in this Venus retrograde it’s also ‘changing consensus’.

MJM: Yeah, hopefully.

CB: Consensus changes during Venus retrogrades and sometimes turns. And you can see it a lot in this instance. There’s been a bunch of examples of sometimes a Venus retrograde happens and it hits an individual’s chart in a certain way, and suddenly the consensus on them changes for the better for some reason, like, for example, with Greta Gerwig now becoming a huge director at this point in Hollywood. Alternatively, you have other people where the consensus changes and suddenly it sours and it goes negative on that person or that thing. I know, Austin, you were talking about The Weeknd and the show that kind of failed during this buildup to Venus retrograde over the summer. And somebody on Twitter pointed out that it was actually eight years ago that some of his first big hit singles, like “I Can’t Feel My Face,” became so popular and made him a household name as a musician under the Venus retrograde eight years ago. But here we see Venus retrograde in a sort of inversion eight years later.

AC: Yeah, yeah. As far as that challenging or the relationship to consensus, I like the word ‘reconfiguring’, right? Because when we look back at some of these earlier examples with Barbie, with Hogan and Arnold, we see the Venus retrograde in Leo reconfiguring Hollywood at a certain point. And wrestling isn’t Hollywood but a form of mass entertainment. People’s tastes are reconfiguring and being reconfigured to fit in a different shape. Like the popularity of the bodybuilder physique was a reconfiguration from the ‘60s and ‘70s. But I think it’s also a good lesson in remembering that things changing is not always an evolutionary process where better and better and morally-superior things come out of it. It can just be a gear change, right? Like I don’t know if it’s better to have Dustin Hoffman or Arnold Schwarzenegger make more money at the box office.

CB: Well, sometimes it just brings up stuff from the past. And sometimes stuff from the past can be good, and other times stuff from the past needs to stay there or should have stayed there.

AC: Yeah.

MJM: Or, both/and.

CB: Or, both/and, yeah.

AC: And so, just one final thought. It made me wonder, of the Venus retrogrades, the five, if this one in Leo isn’t more impactful on pop culture. Because it’s Leo, right? Like it’s about visibility. And it made me think of—here’s one more ‘Arnold’ thing. There was a producer who was interviewed about Arnold when he was first trying to get into Hollywood, and the producer said, “Oh, you need to do this, this, this as an actor.” And Arnold said, “I don’t want to be an actor. I want to be a star.” And I was like, “Oh, that’s some Venus in Leo shit right there,” and also probably some good self-awareness. But I just wonder because this one’s so sun-soaked and visible whether it has more of an impact on the visible layer of Venus in culture.

CB: Yeah, maybe. ‘Cause part of that is also marketing, and there’s something around marketing and what marketing represents. Like you read between the lines in that Barbie quote from earlier, it’s like it didn’t take off initially because she couldn’t get buyers from the dominant, male people that were in charge of Sears and stuff to buy the doll who actually believed that little girls would want to play with an adult doll rather than raise a baby and be put in the ‘mother’ position for that. But it was only partially through marketing and market research and television advertising and things like that that Barbie took off that summer. And then of course we’ve seen one of the largest movie marketing campaigns on many different levels with Barbie over the summer. So it’s like part of what we’re seeing is the effects of marketing and attempts to control and manipulate that to some extent, whether for positive or negative.

AC: Mm-hmm. So all this visibility I think begs the question of where did all the stars go? They’re not promoting any of their projects or right now.

CB: Right, so that was the other major news story. There was first a writers’ strike, but now there’s been an actors’ strike that started in the middle of July. And that was wild to see because all the actors were out promoting these big movies, both Barbie as well as Oppenheimer, and then all of a sudden the actors went on strike. And some of the actors that were out promoting Oppenheimer, like these huge Hollywood stars, literally just walked off and left and departed and didn’t continue promoting the movie because their union was on strike; which is very literal and evocative for Venus retrograde, where Venus is moving forward and all of a sudden she turns around and starts walking away.

AC: And about to go invisible in the sky, right? You don’t see Venus rise in the evening nor in the morning for quite some time once you get into the Venus retrograde. Where’s Venus?

CB: Yeah. And then Christopher in the comments points out that people are eager for good movies, too. The other big thing is this is like a huge weekend for the movies with tons of people reigniting an interest in going out to the movies or going out to cinemas. While we’re not in the post-COVID world, we’re in whatever world we’re in at this point after 2020 and everything that went with that, where there was that real threat movie theaters and the experience of going to the movies is gonna die at this point.

MJM: It’s fascinating what you brought in about the visibility, Austin. Because, yeah, it looks like Venus is gonna go under the beams around August 3, something like that, and then won’t appear again as a morning star until around August 24. So it’s a solid three weeks that we’re not gonna see Venus. And so, I wonder if there are ways in which might reflect or describe the presence or visibility of these Hollywood stars during the actors’ strike.

AC: And what’s interesting is, from a mythological perspective, Venus is busy in the underworld when we don’t see Venus in the sky, right? It’s not that nothing’s happening. Quite a bit is happening but it’s beneath the surface. It’s at a more fundamental level. I don’t know, when we talked about reconfiguring, a lot of times deep reconfiguration almost always takes place somewhere hidden or not visible, right? Think of butterflies—the caterpillar into a butterfly. You need to hide if you’re going to transform, right?

CB: Yeah. All right, so I didn’t realize until just now that time’s getting away from us, and so we’re far into this. So let’s just go through and get to some of the other stories really quickly. Like Oppenheimer, the main one I’m gonna mention is just that Venus is retrograde in Leo, the movie was released. So why is that relevant? Well, I went back and it turns out that Los Alamos was built and opened in 1943, and that summer Venus went retrograde in the same series in Virgo, which would eventually be the Virgo-Leo series; so the same thing happened. There was a funny bit about that which was that they encouraged all the scientists to bring their families so they could live and work there in secrecy, but the average age of the scientists was like 25 and they had families.

So what started happening is that after they were done with their work there was apparently a lot of sex going on and there was a baby boom, where in the first year there were like 80 babies born on this small base in Los Alamos. And I assume a lot of that took place in that Venus retrograde that first summer, that ended up being relevant. And there was even like a small reference to it in the movie that occurred at one point as well. So Nick Dagan Best and I are gonna do a Casual Astrology Episode where we talk in more depth about both of those two movies. I’ll release that for patrons here I think in the next few days. So let’s move into some other stories.

I talked a lot in previous months about how eight years ago Venus went retrograde in Leo conjunct Jupiter and the Supreme Court in the United States legalized same-sex marriage. And in the episode that I did earlier this month with Gary Lorentzen, we discovered that if you take that same retrograde back to 1983 there was this interesting thing where Newsweek published a cover story that featured a gay couple for the first time in any major national print magazine in the same exact retrograde in August of 1983. So then when that eventually repeats in 2015 you see this similar theme or an echo of that with same-sex marriage being legalized.

So I’d been kind of paying attention to what would happen this summer, and I’m still paying attention to stories related to that. There has been on the one hand this not-good Supreme Court ruling that allowed businesses to refuse some services to LGBTQ customers, and I think that’s one major thing that just happened this summer that could have much more far-ranging implications than it might even seem like at this point that are not good and connected in with that Venus retrograde cycle in terms of rights for different people. And then also we’ve seen a lot of weird pushback, especially during Pride in June. Some retailers were pulling back some of their stuff in terms of Pride displays and things like that due to conservative backlash. And I thought that was also kind of connected with this, but in a weird way where we were seeing almost like an inversion of some of the things that we saw eight years ago where it seemed like things were opening up and becoming more acceptable.

AC: I don’t know if you said it, but I know you were thinking it. Looking at Venus station with Jupiter eight years ago versus the lead-up to the retrograde being Venus with Mars—Mars contesting, attacking, arguing. But I guess the good news is that Venus’ direct station is extremely entangled with Jupiter in Venus’ sign.

CB: Right.

AC: Similarly—go ahead.

MJM: I was just gonna say some of the other things that feel like differences between these two cycles. Yes, the Venus station happening around the conjunction with Jupiter cliffs to a conjunction with Jupiter in 2015. But the Obergefell and Hodges decision in 2015, and the 303 Creative decision this summer, the Supreme Court decision giving businesses the right to refuse services to LGBTQ people—it’s fascinating to me that both of those happened in the pre-retrograde shadow when Venus was at its maximum elongation before stationing retrograde. So there’s something symbolically that I think is worth thinking about, about what does it mean for Venus to get in a sense as far as it can go before being pulled back in another direction. And in both of these cases—even though they seem to be at opposite sides of a political spectrum in terms of advancing LGBTQ rights or revoking LGBTQ rights and civil liberties—while being at opposite sides politically, they both have this sense of something happening, and then the retrograde is almost like the integration period of like how are we as a society going to integrate and respond to this decision that’s been made by the highest court in the land.

And Austin is pointing to the station or the pre-retrograde station being with Mars versus with Jupiter. Another big difference between these retrograde cycles is that in 2015 this retrograde was happening in a trine to Uranus, and now in 2023 this retrograde cycle is happening in a square to Uranus. And in both of them Venus is making multiple exact aspects with Uranus. I mean, that’s part of what we get to observe right now, right? What’s the difference between a Venus retrograde and Leo that’s square to Uranus versus one that’s trine Uranus? Both have this potential for destabilizing or disrupting or some sort of radical change in maybe cultural currents and that sort of reconfiguration or disruption of the consensus that you were pointing to earlier, but one that maybe has a little bit more of a productive flow to it, and one that’s maybe encountering a bit more resistance or demanding some sort of adjustment or even some sort of conflict in response to these sorts of decisions. These are some of the ways we can think about not only the repetition of the Venus retrograde but how is that Venus retrograde cycle in Leo configured to other planets happening, where they are in the sky. ‘Cause that’s gonna give us a lot about why is this story not the same as it was eight years ago?

AC: I think that’s a really good point. Just thinking about the quality of a trine versus a square—back to Astrology 101—the Venus-Jupiter, or excuse me, Venus-Uranus relationship, that’s pretty smooth. Trines often seem natural, like when we’re looking at mundane astrology. It’s like, “Oh, well, of course that happened then, it was ready to happen,” versus the square which, as you said, is much more contested, jagged, back-and-forth, like, “How do we make room for this?” etc. etc. Yeah, that’s a really good point.

CB: I was just gonna mention the connection with Leo I forgot to mention here that’s relevant in this discussion as well as previous ones. There’s a keyword for Venus in Leo, ‘authenticity’.

MJM: Right.

CB: Authenticity is super important to Leo, and that’s one of the common themes I think we’re coming back to here in these discussions. What does it take to be able to live authentically to yourself and to have society accept or at least not try to oppress that versus what is authenticity in terms of things like appearance and things like that and the different constraints and tensions surrounding that that each individual has? All those are related themes.

MJM: Totally. I mean, it’s a big part of how I’m thinking about the Venus squares, the exact squares with Uranus that we will probably get into in the discussion. But what does it mean to experience desire or pleasure in an authentic way? What are the social conditions that make it difficult to experience what we might think of as ‘your true desires’ or the ‘true expanse of your desires’? Or what is the full capacity of your ability to experience pleasure? And what are the social constraints that might make that difficult, if not impossible? In terms of like right now, we’re talking about legal precedence and how that shapes how laws are enforced on people’s bodies and lives, but also the ways in which those things become internalized.

Like Audre Lord—this isn’t an exact quote—but Audre Lord was famous for having articulated the ways that the oppressor lives within as well, that can do a lot of work to try to change society. But in what ways are we policing our own desires? In what ways are we policing our own pleasures? And I’m not just talking here about sexuality or sexual orientation or our erotic entanglements, but all the ways in which we allow ourselves to feel desire or want towards some things and not other things is a matter of social conditions, but also a matter of how we’ve internalized those things as well. And with Venus and Uranus in these squares right now, both in fixed signs, there’s a sense of there’s a really deeply entrenched way, of like, “This is the way that things have to be.” And so, that square across these fixed signs, pushing towards, yes, authenticity, which I associate with Leo, but I also associate in some ways with Uranus. Because so much of Uranus has to do with breaking away from social norms and expectations, breaking away from what we’ve been told it has to be and moving in new directions that give us access to more optimal freedom and greater opportunity for authenticity. And so, those keywords of Venus and Leo I think are particularly pronounced right now because of the hard push from the square with Uranus.

And then also Chris asked earlier—I think this was before we started recording—if there were any other kinds of Venus retrograde stories that we were tracking, and I just shared that in a way I’m just observing to see what unfolds. Actually the day that Venus stationed retrograde this year on July 23, I was actually at a protest at the state house here in Columbus, Ohio where I live, because earlier in the week a drag ban bill had been introduced in Ohio. And it was just striking to me to notice, yes, this wave of pushback, this conservative pushback against LGBTQ people: our lives, our livability, our rights, our civil liberties, but also just our ability to show up in public life. Part of what a bill like this is attempting to prohibit is that queer people, trans people, people performing drag aren’t even allowed to be in public. Like that prohibition of “We don’t want to see you, we don’t want you to have the opportunity to exist in public life,” is part of what—at least for me in my life, but also in the state where I live—lined up with the very start of this Venus retrograde. So I’m gonna be interested and invested in seeing how this Venus retrograde cycle aligns with that particular legislation moving through our state house and also the kind of pushback it receives because that’s what’s interesting to me.

The start of the retrograde cycle wasn’t the bill itself, that came a few days earlier, but what came was the pushback. And there are ways in which we can think about resistance and struggle itself as evidence of freedom. How do we know that we are free? We know that we are free because we are struggling for our freedom. Like Angela Davis teaches us that freedom is a constant struggle. And as I’ve lived with that phrase for a lot of years now, the more and more I’ve realized that we know we are free because we are capable of struggle, because we are capable of pushing back against oppressive regimes or legislatures and things like that. And I was also thinking about this quote from Rachel Pollock who was a brilliant tarot reader and writer and teacher, who died in April this year, who was a trans elder. And she said years ago, in talking about the conservative pushback against LGBTQ people at that time, she said, “You don’t forbid the things that don’t exist.”

You don’t make laws to prohibit drag because drag isn’t happening. You don’t make laws to criminalize healthcare for trans people because that healthcare isn’t happening. So there’s a way in which even in the midst of struggle and even in the midst of these really oppressive conservative legislative moves we can also recognize that as an affirmation of our existence. We’re here. These laws are being introduced and passed and debated and vetoed, etc., because our existence cannot actually be contested. And so, I’m just thinking about that in relation to the Venus-Uranus squares as part of this Venus retrograde cycle, too. That hard push for freedom and authenticity against the kind of regressive forces of political culture—in what ways is that in and of itself also an affirmation of our existence and our ability to push back? The pushback is that the suppression or the oppression is a necessary condition for the pushback, yeah, if that makes sense.

AC: Yeah that makes perfect sense.

CB: Makes total sense. I learned something when I studied the history of astrology with Nick Campion years ago where there were all these anti-astrology laws that were passed in the Roman Empire.

MJM: Right.

CB: And people would assume that meant that astrology wasn’t being practiced. But he said, no, it’s actually the opposite. When they’re passing all those laws, it means it is being practiced and they’re trying to suppress it, but sometimes not successfully if they have to keep passing these laws over and over again.

MJM: Right. Well, actually Columbus, Ohio where I live was the first city in the United States to pass an anti-cross-dressing law in 1848. And so, there’s a way in which this bill which is not exactly about cross-dressing, but is also about cross-dressing. Part of the way that drag is defined in the bill is people performing in public space and presenting a gender that’s different than the gender they were assigned at birth, which is by definition cross-dressing and similar history. Why was that law passed in Columbus, Ohio in 1848? Not because no one was cross-dressing. Not because there were no gender non-conforming people.

And so, there’s a way in which even as we reach back to these histories and see like, “Well, shit, that shouldn’t have happened; that’s not great that that law was in place,” we can also see ourselves in that history. That’s part of what Rachel Pollock was pointing to, even what you’re pointing to, Chris. We can look at these laws forbidding astrology in the ancient Roman Empire, and we can see our lineage. We can see our ancestors in those laws because those laws wouldn’t have been put into place if people hadn’t been practicing astrology. These laws wouldn’t be introduced if there weren’t queer and trans people, if there weren’t LGBTQ people, if there weren’t drag performers and drag artists. Yeah, so there’s a way in which even the oppression is an affirmation of our existence.

AC: Yeah, it’s a form of visibility historically.

MJM: Yeah.

AC: So there’s so much that you said there that I couldn’t say it better or really add to it. But going back a little bit there’s just one point that you made about looking at your own relationship to desire.

MJM: Oh, yeah.

AC: That’s something everybody is doing all of the time because desire is—desire is complicated. Desires can contradict one another. Yeah, desires can get you in trouble, etc., etc. And so, mostly unconsciously everybody has a sort of—I think of it as a garden because I’m cancer rising. But it’s like what are you weeding out? What are you watering? What are you fertilizing? What is allowed to thrive? Which desires are you cultivating? And are your ideas about gardening giving you the bouquets that you desire, or did you get instructions from Home Depot? You really didn’t want just all sunflowers all the time.

But I feel like that’s a very natural and useful thing to do during Venus retrogrades because you’re pulled to it anyway. I mean, in this case, with the Venus retrograde in Leo, the desires are intersecting more with visibility, whether we’re talking about social issues where this kind of desire—is it legal for it to be visible in public, right? But then also how does visibility impact our relationship to desires? Do we not want to get caught desiring? It makes me think of, I don’t know, third grade playground dynamics where the worst thing in the world was to have your crush on somebody else revealed and your desire exposed.

MJM: Yeah.

CB: Right.

MJM: And imagine that for queer people.

CB: Yeah. So it seems like that’s one of the things I was looking for and will continue to pay attention to, and hopefully there’ll be more positive things that happen during the course of this retrograde. But it seems like the next step in this—compared to eight years ago with some of the developments happening with queer and trans people—whether that’s gonna be part of the continued story this summer, or if there’ll be other major news stories, we’ll see in the coming month or two.

MJM: And I think especially to that last point about trans people, it goes beyond the Venus retrograde. One of the major news stories that I’ve been watching over the last several years but also this year is the exponential number of anti-trans bills being introduced in the United States right now, and as of yesterday it was a total of 563 anti-trans bills being introduced or debated or passed into law or vetoed, etc., somewhere in the legislative process. And that ranges everything from bans on trans-affirming healthcare, or prohibitions or restrictions on access to public facilities like bathroom, or prohibitions on athletes, who can or cannot compete in particular sports that align with the gender that they identify as and other things as well; all kinds of things related to these bills. And we really see the spark of this like steep escalation of anti-trans legislation in the US but also abroad really started in 2021 with the Saturn-Uranus squares. There were hundreds fewer bills before that year. And then within one year, hundreds of bills were being introduced, and most of them were still while Saturn was in Aquarius squaring Uranus.

And so, what was significant about 2021? In addition to Saturn squaring Uranus, it was the wake of the 2020 election. So we see this massive conservative backlash after Biden was elected, after Trump was defeated. And transgender people are the most recent scapegoat or political pawn for really whipping up a conservative base, preying on the deeply-entrenched anxieties around gender and saying, “This is the problem.” Not gun violence, not systemic racism, not poverty, not ecological devastation—but trans people and trans people’s rights to exist and live in the world. And I guess it goes without saying, but this is a public platform so maybe it’s worth saying. These laws are unconscionable, they are reprehensible, and that we have plenty of historical examples of what happens when there’s any sort of laws being passed that prohibit the visibility or the public visibility or the existence of particular populations. We see how that goes historically, and it doesn’t go well.

What’s different though now, or one of the things I’m observing—this is what I’m tracking in terms of the news stories of the summer of really June and July—is one of the things that seems different now that Saturn has gone into Pisces, a lot of these bills are still being introduced and debated, but there’s another wave of the story where a lot of these bills that have been passed by legislatures are either getting vetoed by governors or they are getting blocked or overturned by federal judges. Many of those federal judges who were appointed by Trump, which even that is mind-boggling to me. And so, part of what we’re seeing in the ongoing development of this story is something like the back-and-forth or the ‘undecidability’ of these laws. These laws are getting advanced, they are getting passed by legislature, and then they’re getting blocked; or they’re getting passed and then they’re getting vetoed.

And it’s just making me think of, well, Saturn, because we’re talking about laws. We’re talking about restrictions being put on people’s bodies and bodily autonomy. And then Pisces, because of its mutability and its ‘double-bodiedness’ and it’s ‘both-and-ness’ and its back-and-forth quality of ‘one day it’s this and then the next day it’s vetoed’, or ‘one day it looks like we’re gonna have to move out of this state because it’s not safe to be a trans person here anymore and then the next day a federal judge blocks that ban. It’s like, oh, maybe we’re okay for another few days. And so, that’s one of the big stories that I’m watching unfold right now, specifically in relation to, I guess, Saturn and Pisces. And there’s reasons that I’m looking at Saturn that we don’t have time to get into today in terms of the role of the Saturn cycle in the history of LGBTQ liberation movements. But there’s something to be said for how these developments have shifted after the rapid acceleration and exponential growth of anti-trans legislation during the Saturn-Uranus square. And now Saturn’s moving towards a sextile with Uranus, and we’ll see what happens at the sextile if any of this story shifts in a different direction once that sextile is perfected.

CB: Really it makes me think of what you said earlier about Venus, just that Venus gets as far as she can in her distance from the Sun, but then the gravity of the Sun pulls her back, and there’s like this check on it and things move backwards for a period. But then eventually Venus starts moving forward again and there’s this constant back-and-forth motion of progress and then pushback, and little bits of progress and pushback; and maybe that’s part of why Venus is retrograde. It’s slightly related but it reminds me of this quote from—I’m gonna bring in another Barbie quote into this, but the quote was really powerful. At one point in the movie, one of the main characters said, “We mothers stand still so our daughters can look back and see how far they’ve come.” And that quote kind of makes me think of part of what you’re talking about in a parallel way even though it’s obviously talking about something different.

MJM: Yeah, I want to sit with that quote a lot longer in terms of what does that say about mothers. It’s a beautiful idea. Also, that framing requires mothers to not move forward anymore, and there’s a feminist response to that coming up for me of like, well, if you’re a mother, you have to give up moving forward at a certain point. Yeah, I’ll sit with that. I don’t want to respond too much ‘cause that’s the first time I’ve heard that quote. But definitely I like the way that you’re connecting that back to Venus’ maximum elongation before being pulled back by gravity in terms of this advancing and moving back. And I think there’s, yeah, maybe something to think about in terms of the back-and-forth of Saturn in Pisces and the way these laws are being debated and passed and vetoed and blocked that is coinciding with the Venus retrograde square Uranus. So there’s something there that we could think about.

CB: For sure, for sure. All right, so let’s jam through just a couple more news stories. Michael, I know you had one about Saturn in Pisces and water stuff that seemed very relevant.

MJM: Oh, yeah, sure. This was a headline that came out earlier in July that almost half of the US’s tap water is estimated to have what are called ‘forever chemicals’ according to a new study. And forever chemicals are per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances. There’s about 12,000 of them. And this is the first major study that’s tested tap water in various regions around the US, both from private wells, but also from public watersheds to see how much of our water actually has these forever chemicals in them. These forever chemicals have been linked to lots of health problems, including certain forms of cancer, although they’re still studying how much density of these chemicals is in the water and how much density of these chemicals is in our bodies, and what kinds of health concerns can these be tied to.

But one of the pieces that I found when I was really reading about this and trying to understand more what was going on is that before the study even came out there had already been another study that had shown that 95% of Americans have detectable levels of these forever chemicals in our blood. So more than half of the US water supply now has tested positive for having these chemicals, and we already know that most of us have some detectable amounts of these in our bodies. And I was just thinking about the symbolism of Saturn, and Saturn being the planet associated with time and duration and things that end, but also things that don’t end—the things that continue indefinitely—and Saturn in Pisces, a water sign, and the ways in which now these forever chemicals are being detected in our water supplies. And technology is being developed to see if there is a way to filter these chemicals out of our water, but we’re gonna be living with the consequences of this for a long time.

And I want to be careful to say it’s not like Saturn moved into Pisces in March and now there’s all these forever chemicals in our water. Obviously this is something that’s been building for decades. But the alignment that feels maybe poetic or symbolic in some way is that this study and the realization or the recognition of just how many or how much of these forever chemicals are in our water supplies in the US came out coinciding with Venus in Pisces, but also Venus retrograde in Pisces. It’s like looking back almost as if to ask the question, what have we done? How did we get here? Yeah, that was a headline that stood out to me in terms of thinking about that alongside Saturn in Pisces.

AC: Saturn didn’t create it, but Saturn in Pisces shifts the awareness.

MJM: Yeah.

AC: It shifts the Saturnian gaze. And of course lead, Saturn’s metal, is a notoriously poisonous metal, and we see Saturn associated with poison in lots of old texts. And a permanent poison that is waterborne makes me really happy I’m on well water.

MJM: Yeah.

CB: Yeah. And sometimes it’s just about awareness, like you said, Michael. And that came up actually in the AIDS episode that we just did. It was like the Saturn-Pluto conjunction seemed to coincide with suddenly the world becoming aware that AIDS existed and naming it; it was really close to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction. There was something really striking about that realization that sometimes the transits, the mundane transits are showing us the collective becoming aware—like humanity becoming aware of or recognizing something. And that’s really insightful about the nature of astrology there that’s worth exploring.

MJM: I think that’s right. And for those of you who are listening to this episode, if you have not listened to the episode looking at the AIDS epidemic/pandemic in relation to the history of astrology and how that impacted not only gay communities and global populations, but also very specifically the astrology community, I hope you go back and listen to it ‘cause it was a really fantastic episode. And that piece about the astrology or the transits, specifically the transits part of astrology describing when things emerge into collective consciousness, not necessarily when they started, but when we become aware of them in some sort of substantial way I think is really insightful. And it lined up with one of the other headlines that stood out to me in July, which is that the week of July 4-8 reached the highest average global temperatures on record.

And that’s really striking to me because of course we can’t simplify the entire complexity of climate collapse or climate crisis into this one statistic of like, “Oh, no, what’s the astrology of climate change or climate collapse because of this event?” But what we can look at here is, what’s the astrology of this moment that lines up with this record-breaking heat on the planet? And what stands out to me is the Uranus moving through Taurus. Uranus being a planet of disruption, of unsettling things, but also breakdowns of systems and breakthroughs of barriers moving through an earth sign, a fixed Earth sign of like this is the way things have been, these are the substantial, reliable material consistencies of our lives and that being disrupted in some way. We could say that there are probably a lot of climate change/climate collapse/climate crisis stories that have coincided with Uranus’ move through Taurus, but of course those crises were already happening well before Uranus moving into Taurus.

What’s interesting here is that this report came out while Mars was in Leo squaring Uranus: Mars being a hot and fiery planet already; Mars being in a fire sign, a fixed fire sign, squaring Uranus in a fixed Earth sign. It just felt like there was some symbolic resonance or significance to these record-breaking temperatures on our planet coinciding with this particular square between Mars and Uranus. And because I was curious, I looked back to when was the last time that Mars was squaring Uranus in Taurus, and it was back in 2021—because Mars had that long retrograde in Gemini; so it’s been a while since Mars was in Leo—and June-July of 2021 was also reported as the hottest global average temperature recorded at that point. And so, there’s just something there. I’m not saying that two occurrences is necessarily a pattern, but it’s worth watching now. All right, what’s gonna happen with global average temperatures each time Mars moves through Leo and squares Uranus and Taurus, which will happen again I believe in 2024 into 2025? Because Mars is gonna have a retrograde in Leo in 2024-2025. So that’ll be a potentially significant turning point in that story because of the duration that Mars is gonna be in that square.

AC: Wow.

CB: Yeah. And different roads are on fire right now, and there’s just some really crazy images from around the world. All right, so I think that’s good. We’re going over our time for news, so I want to move in and talk about August at this point, if it sounds good to both of you.

MJM: Yeah, sounds great.

AC: Yep.

CB: All right, so let me put the Alignments Calendar back up. Here is the image for August again where we see that Full Moon in Aquarius right on the 1st of the month as the thing that we’re starting out with right at the top of the month. Of course all of the Venus retrograde stuff that we’ve been talking about is still all extremely relevant because we’re still now very early on August 1 in the Venus retrograde cycle and still in the first-half of it for essentially the first-half of August. So we don’t have to repeat all the Venus retrograde discussions again, but that’s kind of the backdrop as we head into the first and second week of August/ Still in the thick of the Venus retrograde and then we have this Full Moon in the sign of Aquarius right at the top of the month to start us off. So how are we feeling about this Full Moon? I see that Mars is exactly trine Jupiter on this day, which is kind of a positive grounding aspect to a certain extent, and the Moon is squaring Jupiter. So we have some positive influences coming in with this Full Moon despite otherwise being in the midst of the Venus retrograde.

MJM: Yeah, I mean, especially the squares from Jupiter to the Sun and Moon. I mean, it’s a loose square but like 4° degrees. It does look like it’s gonna give some stability to the lunation, especially that all three of those planets are also in fixed signs. So it feels like some sort of stabilizing support that’s available to this lunation, things that are started around this lunation. I guess in thinking about the Sun in Leo and the Moon in Aquarius, I’m thinking about this polarity between what’s at the center and what’s at the margins. The sun being a kind of central organizing principle both in terms of its placement in the solar system—everything orbits around the Sun—but also in terms of ancient astrology, the sun being at the center of the Chaldean order of the planets.

So the Sun in Leo really has this ‘what is at the center of things’ question, but Aquarius is ruled by Saturn which is the farthest visible planet. I kind of think of Aquarius often as like the outer edges of things. And so, we have this polarity between what’s at the center and what’s at the edges or at the limits or at the margins or at the leading edge of things. And with that kind of polarity I’m thinking about this feminist adage of ‘the personal is political’. What is it about me, about my life? What is it I’m going through—my experiences, my suffering? And what happens if we take this broader Aquarius view—this kind of aerial, full systems perspective and recognize that our personal experiences are actually woven into these larger structures and stories? And what does that do for us to be able to see how it feels very much about me or my experiences? What feels very personal here at the center of my life is actually part of something much bigger than me. These are some of the things I’m thinking about with this New Moon—or Full Moon.

CB: That makes a lot of sense. And I like that the Moon—although it’s applying to a square and it’s a somewhat challenging aspect—at least it’s applying to the benefic Jupiter after it hits that opposition with the Sun. So perhaps there’s some positive affirmation of that in terms of the reconciliation between the almost self-centeredness of the Leo placement of the Sun and Venus versus the focus on those living at the periphery with Aquarius. How do you feel about this Full Moon, Austin?

AC: Well, I like the Moon’s application to Jupiter. It brings into focus the stabilization, which is one of Jupiter’s root abilities, that’s also there with Taurus, right? Jupiter likes to stabilize things and be like, “Well, we don’t all agree, but let’s all agree to have a conversation about it,” right? Or like, “Things aren’t going great and we can’t fix everything, but let’s take a moment.” Jupiter tries to calm things down to get to a workable place. It’s interesting ‘cause it’s a square. It’s not the Moon in Aquarius’ vibe, it’s not the Sun in Leo’s vibe. But Jupiter, even when ineffective, at least tries to bring about a better situation. Every now and again it can create a worse situation, but usually even somebody trying to help is helpful. I guess I’m more interested—or I’m doing more thinking about the exact Mercury-Saturn opposition that’s occurring at the same time, and Saturn is the ruler of Aquarius, right? ‘Cause one way to look at this Full Moon with the Sun in Leo and the Moon and Aquarius is Sun-Saturn dynamics, right? There’s the Sun. This is like, “Oh, this is what I kind of want to do. This is what I’m trying to do. This is what feels natural.” But then Saturn is like, “These are my obligations that I have made, these are my responsibilities, and then these are the challenges presented by my environment, which I may not have chosen, but it is necessary that I figure out what to do about them as a part of necessity.” Like, “Okay, well, this isn’t part of the plan, but it’s real. So how do I figure that?”

And the Mercury in Virgo, which we’re going to have for most of the month, it kind of inaugurates a big ‘problem-diagnosing and then fact-finding and solution-engineering’ sequence where I don’t think a lot of the problems are going to be immediately soluble, right? ‘Cause we know that Mercury, even on a personal level, because Mercury’s in Virgo, Mercury is planning to do a retrograde in Virgo. Often when planets plan to do a retrograde, especially Mercury and Venus, the problems or situations need three passes in order to get it right, right? It’s not a simple thing. You need to look at it one way then look at it from a different angle, and then you can kind of triangulate as to what a good approach might be. And so, the Full Moon is sort of starting that ‘cause it’s showing how to navigate these problems.

You know, ‘problems’ is maybe too defined a word for Saturn in Pisces. Like Michael was saying earlier, Saturn in Pisces is very like, is this happening? Is this not happening? What are the rules? Are there no rules? Should there be rules? I think of Leonard Cohen: “Things are gonna slide, slide in all directions. Won’t be nothing you could measure anymore.” It’s like I’m not even sure what’s happening. And so, if I’m not sure what’s happening. How do I ‘fix it’? Is there a problem? Is it going in this direction? Maybe I’m channeling perplexed Mercury in Virgo looking at an era of time where the rules, the boundaries, what is solid is given to us by Saturn in Pisces.

CB: Yeah. And also, this degree that Mercury is at when it opposes Saturn—it’s coming up to those degrees where Mars and Saturn recently just opposed at the end of July. So that, combined with this being a Full Moon, where the Moon is at its brightest, it might be like bringing to light or bringing to the focus communication of some of the major tensions that culminated, that I noticed a number of people were having around the time of that Mars-Saturn opposition, and some of the intractable issues that came up at that time around when Venus was stationing retrograde at the same time, which is often tied in with many of those stories.

AC: That Mars-Saturn, which was directly on top of and opposing my Mars-Saturn, gave me the worst gas I’ve ever had.

MJM: Inner conflict.

CB: That’s pretty literal. Yeah, inner conflict.

AC: Yeah, I was just like sitting there holding my guts (Virgo) and just ‘war-criming’ myself for hours. At the same time, on an astrologer level, I was like, “If this is the worst that I get from this transit, I accept.”

CB: Yeah, I saw some people who as soon as Mars entered into Virgo and ingressed, it started that sign-based opposition with Saturn, and the Mars-Saturn opposition stories began almost immediately. And it was sometimes just these issues of these really difficult situations where you’re stuck in a really hard place but you have to just keep moving forward, and you have to just grin and bear it or at least bear through it, until you got through the exact opposition and then there started to be this receding of some of the tensions to a certain extent. And that’s one of the things I like about this Full Moon is here we see Mars at least moving into that trine with Jupiter, which is now providing some relief and some freedom or loosening of some of the restrictions that were coming with the Mars-Saturn opposition in July.

MJM: Yeah, and I think like—oh, sorry.

AC: Yeah, go ahead.

MJM: I was just gonna say in terms of thinking about the Mars-Saturn opposition in relation to the Mercury-Saturn opposition, that, yeah, absolutely, as Mercury is opposing Saturn, we’re getting a development in the Mars-Saturn story because now Mars is moving into that trine with Jupiter. So it’s like whatever that conflict or friction or difficulty was is being given a little bit more ease or space or support or freedom—I like that you use that word, Chris—and at the same time something else is coming into opposition. And so, with Mercury opposing Saturn, it feels like prohibitions around what we can say or not say, or writer’s block, or not being able to think in the ways that we want to, or some sort of limits or constriction around how we’re learning, like these sorts of mercurial themes. But I’m also thinking about the fact that Mercury has a lot of dignity here. Like Mercury is not coming into this opposition necessarily without resources. Mercury is in its domicile and its exaltation, So it has a lot of capacity to hone those analytical, critical thinking skills towards whatever this opposition is, whatever this conflict or disagreement or just different perspectives are.

And I think maybe one of the ways that those skills or resources—for folks looking at this transit and their own charts or how it might show up in their own lives—one of the things that that might be utilized towards is thinking about that while they are in opposition, planets in opposition do share something, that they’re not in aversion to one another. And the thing that they share here with Mercury in Virgo and Saturn in Pisces is they share mutability. They share the capacity to see more than one perspective or to shift from one thing into another, or that adaptation and that ability to change course or redirect that I associate with mutable signs.

Even in this conflict, like whatever that conflict describes for people, perhaps the way through is to direct those mercurial skills of analysis and critical thinking towards what Adrienne Maree Brown describes as ‘intentional adaptation’. What other possibilities are available to us here? It makes me think about years ago—I can’t even remember what book this was in—but Bell Hooks wrote something to the effect of ‘critical thinking starts when we get beyond either or.’ And so, inside of this opposition, with both planets in these mutable signs, it feels, yeah, critical thinking, Mercury in Virgo. We can access those resources more when we start attending to what are the other possibilities other than what seems to be this diametric opposition. Something like that could be a way through for people as we move into that opposition on the 1st.

CB: Love that. That’s a really great point that the flexibility of the two mutable placements is their opportunity for reconciliation.

MJM: Right, yeah.

CB: Okay, so that’s pretty major in terms of our first thing of the month, just starting off right off the bat with a Full Moon shining the light on some issues. After that, over the next few days, Mercury moves up towards this conjunction with Mars, and it gets really kind of close to this conjunction with Mars, so that that’s one of the underlying energies of the month. On the one hand, we have this kind of tense and typically kind of combative or volatile conjunction of Mercury conjunct Mars, which can be very argumentative, that’s forming but never completes. But then on the other hand, in the first week we have Mercury moving from the opposition with Saturn and then moving into a somewhat calming or not restraining, but cooling trine with Jupiter that is kind of helping it out at the same time.

One of the hardest things we kind of have to reconcile in this forecast is what does it mean to have, especially in the second-half of the month, Mercury retrograde in Virgo eventually conjunct Mars, but having a trine with Jupiter at the same time that’s kind of balancing it out.

AC: Yeah, well—

MJM: I mean—oh, go ahead, Austin.

AC: Thank you. To simplify for a little bit, as the month begins Mercury is opposed Saturn and in the same sign as Mars, and that’s almost the entire month, right? We have Mercury by sign axes dealing with both malefics, and more precisely at different times. And so, it’s a good thing Mercury’s exalted because there’s a lot to figure out, right? And then what we figure out—or decide to delay figuring out if that’s the conclusion we come to—like whatever Mercury figures out Mars will act on, but Saturn might contest that. So you get some of those ‘rock in a hard place’ or ‘under pressure’ Mars-Saturn dynamics with Mercury, right? It’s not just like, “Oh, figure things out whatever your timeframe is.” No, if we don’t get this done by next Tuesday then ‘x, y, and z’ happen. And so, in that context—the trine to Jupiter—any help when you’re in a pressurized situation is much appreciated, right? And so—yeah, go ahead.

MJM: I was just gonna say that I love that you’re bringing attention to the extended co-presence with Mercury and Mars in Virgo with the sign-based opposition with Saturn, and that’s really the setup leading up to this Mercury retrograde in Virgo. But just days after Mercury stations retrograde, Mars will leave Virgo, and Mercury gets to revisit Jupiter in the aftermath of that. So we have this first trine between Mercury and Jupiter on August 9, and then Mercury is gonna make two more trines with Jupiter on September 4 and then September 25, and that’s gonna be without Mars’ interference. Yeah, I mean, I guess I could just use some very simple language, if you like. There’s some problems that are gonna be introduced here preceding Mercury’s retrograde, and then at least part of that situation is going to move on. As Mercury goes through this process of revisiting the situation or reviewing or reevaluating, along that way it’s also gonna revisit the support from Jupiter.

And it gives me a lot of hope for the functionality of this upcoming Mercury retrograde because Mercury is so dignified in its domicile and exaltation, because it’s being overcome by this trine from Jupiter by sign the whole time, but also three exact trines. It just looks like there’s a lot of resources available for doing the work of whatever problem solving is needed after this introduction of ‘here are some challenges’ with Mercury co-present with Mars opposing Saturn, but then this longer period where some of that subsides, gives Mercury a little bit of space to figure some things out. And then I was also just thinking about Valens writing about Mercury and Jupiter combination and using language like ‘supervisory roles’ and ‘managers’ and ‘overseers of affairs’ and ‘administrators’. It just feels like together Mercury and Jupiter have some capacity to get a handle on things, and, yeah, just manage what needs to be managed in terms of this transit.

CB: Yeah.

AC: Yeah, it’s a lot like the Venus cycle that we’ve been watching where the lead into it is a lot nastier than the outcome.

MJM: Yeah.

AC: Which doesn’t make the first several weeks of August any easier.

MJM: No.

AC: But it is good to know this is the hard part, right? It’s just a lot of pressure. And it’s very easy to not think as clearly, not communicate as clearly under pressure. And with the malefics attending we get worse consequences, we get graded more sharply, we get worse feedback, so navigating this is important. A lot of times there’s a tendency for people to view the retrograde, “Oh, it’s the actual retrograde where shit’s really gonna go down,” but this is a little bit the opposite. It’s like the road to the retrograde is the hard part or the hardest part by far.

CB: Yeah. And there’s both the Mercury retrogrades and the Venus retrograde. Those cycles are finishing up weirdly about the same time in the September timeframe. Which is kind of interesting ‘cause it probably means they’re interlinked with Venus stationing direct in Leo in early September, but taking a while to gain steam again and move through the same degrees that she’s already passed through a couple of times now. Then eventually Mercury stations direct in mid-September, but both of them then get back to their shadow degrees and finish things up in their respective signs of Virgo and Leo about the same time and then depart from those signs finally in early October. So that gives you a timeframe, which is sometimes one of the things that astrology is the most useful for. If you’re going through some issues or there’s some hassles or troubles or hard times, if it’s tied in with those cycles, knowing an endpoint roughly is sometimes useful, as well as in this instance seeing that there’s some positive resolutions to some of those tensions towards the end.

MJM: Yeah.

CB: All right, so that brings us kind of to the middle of the month and to the next major—

MJM: Before we—that same day that Mercury is making the trine with Jupiter is also the second Venus square to Uranus, which we’ve said some things about already. But just to name it those things are happening on the same day. And, yeah, I love the language you used earlier, Austin, in terms of the ‘garden’ and the ‘garden of our desires’ and what is allowed to thrive. Like maybe you want a whole garden of sunflowers, but maybe you want some sunflowers and some other things. What are the desires that get encouraged or cultivated or nourished or enriched? And when I’m looking at this aspect, this Venus-Uranus aspect, I keep thinking about a phrase that Adrienne Maree Brown writes about in Pleasure Activism where she says that “Pleasure is a measure of [our] freedom,” that we are capable of experiencing in terms of our pleasure is directly correlated with how free we are allowed to live. And she’s writing those ideas really in response or moving forward from an essay by Audre Lord called “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power.”

And at the beginning of that essay, Audre Lord talks about the ways in which the erotic has been distorted and suppressed and vilified in our society. Like our connection to what we were talking about earlier, our true authentic erotic desires—so many of us don’t even have access to those things for so many reasons. And the psychoanalysts gave us a lot of insight into why we might not have total access to our desires. Historians of sexuality like Michele Foucault have given us a lot of critical thinking about why we might not have total access to what we might think of as authentic desires. Feminists and feminist philosophers have been thinking about that for decades. But this square between Venus and Uranus feels like an opportunity to disrupt some of those things. To actually push toward exploring or experimenting with what it is we might want or the kinds of pleasure we might experience. Or daring to break away from some of those norms and expectations that have relegated us to one part of the garden and not other parts of the garden, or just giving ourselves more freedom to embody more of what allows us to feel good.

And I’m just thinking about ways we might be with that transit. Again, this is the second one. There’s already been one Venus-Uranus square which was back on July 2. Then the second one is August 9, and then the third one is September 29, just as Venus is coming to the end of its retrograde shadow. And some of the things that I was thinking about is it’s gonna be a good time to explore what else you might want or what else might make you feel good, whether that’s trying a new flavor of ice cream or trying out a new style or mode of presentation, or exploring some new feminist pornography, or experimenting with sex that you’ve maybe always kind of wanted but never had before, and those kinds of of finding what’s at the edges of what I’ve been allowed to desire or experience in terms of pleasure and/or what’s at the limits or the edges of what I have allowed myself to experience in terms of desire and pleasure.

And having the coincidence of Venus square Uranus, while in this retrograde period of review and reflection and reevaluation, it feels like an opportune time to be asking a lot of those questions and then recognizing with that quote that I was framing with earlier that all of this is related to how free do you want to be. Do you actually want to be free? And if you do—I think most of us aspire to freedom, we could have a longer conversation about that. But at least I think superficially most of us think we want to be free. If that’s true, then in what ways have we not allowed ourselves that optimal range of freedom in terms of our desires and pleasures and our relationships and all the things that Venus might signify?

CB: For sure.

AC: It’s not just the Venus retrograde—excuse me—the Venus square Uranus. The Venus squaring Uranus will blend into the Venus cazimi, which will then blend into the New Moon on top of Venus just post-cazimi. And we have this sort of bottom of the ‘underworld of desire’, like the deepest point, where the way we’re moving forward begins to take you up back to the sunlit realm rather than further down. And the Venus cazimi points are always one of deep, deep reflection, a deep reflection about, what do I want, and what have I wanted. What have I wanted? What did I not get that I wanted, and do I still want that, right? Do I want to keep going? Or maybe is that not so important? Also, what did I want that I obtained or experienced that maybe I don’t want again? Maybe I did want to get that or have that experience, but I don’t need it anymore. Or I’m doubling-down on like, “Yes, I got a taste, and this is exactly what I want.” But this relationship on a very simple level is, so what do you want, certainly on an erotic level? But Venus also connects us to what do we want out of life.

What do we feel pulled towards? What situations, appearances, experiences, etc., etc., are we pulled towards—which is Venus—that we’re attracted to those situations? And that cazimi point is really maximum—I think of it as like alchemical separation, or like boiling. Our desires, our wants get stuck to an idea or an image. But then like, “Oh, why did I keep doing that? I kept doing that ‘cause what I wanted was this kind of experience.” But if what I really want is this kind of experience, maybe it has a different shape than I thought it did, or maybe, etc., etc. But like this feels very core Venus retrograde to me and there’s this point of reconciling all of your pains and pleasures from the previous cycle ‘cause that’s what happened, right? All the satisfactions and frustrations and suffering and all that, like it all kind of comes back to a single point around that cazimi.

CB: Yeah, all this is important. This makes me think of some of what you were saying, Michael, and also you, Austin, in trying to formulate it. But what the Venus retrograde and the Venus hard aspects with Uranus share in common—there’s something exciting about stepping outside of the bounds of normal expectations of what is appropriate to desire.

MJM: Yes.

CB: But then on the other hand, to go to what you were saying, Michael, and then just go to what you were saying, Austin, it’s one thing to idealize a desire of what it would be like to do something different, but then it’s quite a different thing to actually do it and experience it and have it be different, and then have to internalize that and reconcile and decide if that’s really what you wanted, and if the desire once fulfilled is really worth it on some level. I think these are all like major Venus retrograde themes tied in with that square with Uranus.

AC: Yeah, yeah. And the thing is it’s not that we discover that what we were wanting was wrong and now we change, right? It’s like, “I did that. I’m no longer attracted to doing that with my life. Like that’s no longer exciting.” Part of how you know that you’re in that sort of Venusian territory is it’s exciting, it gives life, right? You’re like, “Ooh, achieving that would make me feel this way (looking like this would make me feel this way, being with this person would make me feel this way),” right? There’s a vitality that always accompanies Venus. But one of the things I guess I see on almost like a ‘psychic’ economics level is that we can’t prioritize every desire all the time, right? You don’t have to pick and choose, but you tend to get much better and more satisfying results if you prioritize certain desires for a given period of time.

MJM: Totally.

AC: What do I want most, right?

MJM: Yeah. To build on what you were saying, Austin, and also what you were pointing to, Chris, in terms of it’s one thing to recognize the possibility of a desire, it’s quite another thing to act on it and to experience it in some way, again, it was reminding me of Audre Lord. I guess I also wanted to clarify whenever I said ‘the erotic’ that I’m using the word ‘erotic’ in a pretty expensive way, not only in terms of sex and sexuality. But Lord writes about the erotic as the ‘depth and fullness of feeling of which we are capable’. And she gives examples of our capacity to experience that erotic fullness with things like, yes, sex, but also feeling your body moving to music, or getting lost in conversation with someone, or writing a poem. She even gives the example of building a bookcase. It’s like can we feel more of what we’re capable of feeling in whatever we’re doing?

And then to the point of what’s the difference between the idea of it versus actually doing it and experiencing it, this is also from that same essay. I’m gonna read this as an exact quote from “Uses of the Erotic.” She says, “Once we know the extent to which we are capable of feeling that sense of satisfaction and completion, we can then observe which of our various life endeavors bring us closest to that fullness.” And she goes on to talk about that experience of once we know that life could feel this much or feel this good, why would we not hold ourselves and our lives to that standard? That’s one of the ways in which the erotic is a threat to existing consolidations of power within social systems and institutions. Because it’s like once people know life doesn’t have to feel this way, life doesn’t have to only feel oppressive or suffering, we have a capacity for depth and fullness of feeling, of pleasure and satisfaction. Once we know we can feel that way that motivates, that propels and energizes our capacity for creating social change, for pursuing our own liberation, for pursuing our freedom.

So I guess that’s just like another way of connecting back to that dot between pleasure and freedom. Once we do give ourselves the opportunity to experience other desires—and I take your point seriously, Austin, we can’t prioritize all of our desires all the time. Like when I really want to be writing, other things have to be put aside because I can’t write and do those other things. So, it’s true. And in terms of our aggregate lived experiences, what have we allowed or given ourselves the opportunity to experience? Once we have had those experiences that connect us how much more we can feel, I think there’s something about our expectations, our motivations, and our general standard of living that we’re willing to accept that can be radically reoriented. And that radical reorientation feels like, yes, the reorientation of the retrograde, but also the radical destabilization propelling us into new directions of Uranus.

CB: What you were saying makes me think about Venus and the concept of joy, and Venus having her joy in the 5th house, which is like traditionally called ‘the place of pleasures’, which sounds very surface level. But there’s actually something really important about that in that things that bring you joy sometimes make life worth living in a way, and they can help motivate you to do other things in your life that you might not otherwise do by having the drive of experiencing joy in life.

MJM: Yeah.

AC: Yeah, and I’d like to—as a Saturn-ruled Venus—I’d like to add that in addition it’s important to expand that definition of pleasure and joy. So, again, having the Saturn-ruled Venus, satisfaction is way more important to me than that joy in the moment or pleasure in the moment. The satisfaction of a job well done is totally pleasurable. It’s its own irreplaceable, irreducible category of joy and of pleasure. But, again, if you just say ‘pleasure’ without playing with the definition then that does sound superficial. Like you want a back rub, and I don’t know.

MJM: I do want a back rub.

CB: Right.

AC: After this I could use one. But this is part of this whole Venus ‘heart of the retro’ thing. It’s like, okay, I desire to be the person who got the book I wrote 10 years ago done so that I have a second edition, like that’s a pleasure that I desire, right? And in general that’s a good reminder for Venus stuff, but it’s like a necessary reminder for this phase of Venus where it’s deeper than that, where I’m willing to undergo this pain in order to have this pleasure.

CB: Yeah. I guess I was thinking about it in the sense I’ve been surprised over the past year to rediscover we throw what seem like blow-off significations in the 5th house, like games and stuff like that, or fun and games. But sometimes having those things in a person’s life—it can be this broader category of things that bring you joy, that make life worth living in some sense. And that’s an okay category that each of us has in some way. We all find simple pleasures and something that brings us joy, and that’s actually a core component in life that’s important for everyone universally.

MJM: Yeah.

AC: Yeah, totally. Like I have a Mars-ruled 5th house, and part of the reason I got so into martial arts is I loved physical contests. Like it was super fun for me. Even if it involved pain, it was joyful. Like I enjoyed that kind of tussling, if you will.

CB: For sure. Yeah, so anyways we’re talking about this ‘cause these are all themes that people are gonna continue reflecting on over the course of the Venus retrograde this summer. Speaking of—right after that square with Uranus on August 9 that we’ve just been talking about, Venus conjoins the Sun, and we get the Sun-Venus cazimi, which is the halfway point in the Venus retrograde cycle on the 12th and 13th especially. So we reach the halfway point and the turning point where, just like with Mercury retrogrades, oftentimes there’s like a problem or there’s a thing that comes up at the beginning of the retrograde. And then by the time you get that to the halfway point to the cazimi, you see a turn and you see a pivot point where some of the solutions to whatever came up earlier start to emerge in the middle phase of the second act of the three-act play, which is, in this instance, the Venus retrograde over the course of this summer.

AC: Yeah. And so, as I was saying earlier, the Uranus-Venus blends right into this, and then this blends right into the New Moon on top of Venus, which is gonna happen two days later. So really like you could say August 10-15, like a lot of that week, is really all about this Venus stuff.

MJM: Yeah.

CB: Yeah.

AC: One simple way of putting it is ‘this is the heart of the matter’, right? Venus is in the heart of the Sun, we’re getting to the heart of the matter and for these issues of what do I really want. What do I want as I am here right now, not what did I want when I was 20? What do I want, and what do I really want? Not like, “Do I want a cheeseburger?” Although I might also want a cheeseburger.

MJM: Right.

CB: Yeah.

AC: Let me just finish this one point. I’ve got two sentences. There’s a solution immediately to a complicated thing, but I would say it is the space in which solutions can easily emerge. You’re in the right place. You’re in the place where the ‘solves’ or the ‘yes, that is it’ can easily happen.

CB: For sure. So that brings us to our second lunation.

MJM: Oh, can I say a couple of things about the cazimi?

CB: Yeah, please.

MJM: Yeah, to loop back to your beautiful articulation, Austin, of getting to the heart of the matter and the ways in which that lines up mythically with the myth of Inanna’s descent into the underworld. And getting to the heart of the matter, at least in that myth, requires the letting go of things, the shedding of her talismans, layer after layer, until she’s left in the underworld naked and bare and at the heart of this is all that’s left. And so, as we’re approaching that cazimi, which I totally agree, gets folded into the New Moon in some way, and is totally tied up in the square with Uranus, it’s like, yes, what are the desires or the pleasures that we might explore at the edges of things? Things we’ve been told we couldn’t want or things we haven’t allowed ourselves to experience. But also, what do we have to let go of in order to get there? Are there ideas about who we are or who we have to be that have to be abandoned? And that might not be easy ‘cause these planets are in fixed signs. These are very stable, consistent, reliable, even conditioned ways of knowing our experiences or knowing ourselves. And yet, what even in those most stable, familiar, consistent ways of viewing ourselves is there more to let go of in order to get to this heart of what is it I really want? Yes, maybe I want a cheeseburger, especially with all that beef you have. But also, what do I really want underneath that?

And then just in terms of some astronomy—or I guess not really astronomy, but how does this cazimi fit within a larger cycle. Because we’ve been talking about the repetitions of the eight-year cycle of this particular retrograde cycle, one of the other layers that we can bring into that is, where do the cazimis happen? Because even though there’s these periods where the retrograde is straddling Virgo and Leo and then eventually will straddle Leo and Cancer, where the cazimi happens is one of the places we can mark as what’s the heart of this retrograde. And the Venus retrograde cazimis in Leo started in 1991 and will continue until 2095. So it’s like almost 100 years that the cazimis of this particular retrograde cycle are occurring in Leo, and we’re just like 30 years into that almost 100 years. So, yeah, we could keep an eye on how this particular retrograde, this particular Venus cazimi, is part of an almost hundred-year story. And the fact that we’re not even halfway through whatever that is, yeah, we can hold all of this within this longer framework too.

AC: That is an interesting thing.

CB: I love that you mentioned the myth of Inanna. Like I was talking to Demetra about this this morning, ‘cause she also saw the Barbie movie recently and thought it was really good. But there was an an article written recently that there’s this weird parallel between the actual story in the Barbie movie and the myth of Inanna, which is like this 4,000-year-old myth about Venus’ descent into the underworld, which is often linked with its conjunction with the Sun where it goes invisible and sort of disappears.

And I just wanted to read this really quickly ‘cause it’s relevant to what we’re talking about, but the beginning of the article says, “Once upon a time there was a beautiful goddess queen who became obsessed with thoughts of the underworld and decided she had to see it for herself to understand the inexorable mystery that draws all living things towards death. She succumbs to the same end as all living things, yet help reaches her and she escapes back to her own pleasant and lovely realms unscathed but changed by her experience. Upon her return she discovers her lover has taken her throne, covered himself in her glory, and upended her kingdom. She must take it back from him and exchange him for her own presence in the underworld as no one is allowed to escape death. The goddess queen in question here is Inanna, the ancient Sumerian fertility goddess and principal character in the first story written by an author who signed her name in human history 2,000 years before the common era; a woman named Enheduanna committed to clay tablets the story of traveling to the underworld. This story has many versions, many translations and the original meanings are somewhat obscure to us across the gulf of time. The most recent version of the story is Greta Gerwig’s new film Barbie.

So this is one of the actual discussions that’s happening right now, as this author goes on and points out these weird parallels, which I think are accidental but probably an expression of the archetype coming through this movie of similar plot points between these different stories. And what’s interesting about that is astrologers like Demetra have done lectures before showing how the myth of Inanna is actually tied with the Venus cycle, Venus’ retrograde, its conjunction with the Sun representing the underworld, and then eventually Venus’ emergence from the rays of the Sun in direct motion as emerging from that in the end of the story.

MJM: That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing that, Chris. It also made me think of Chani Nicholas wrote a piece called, “A Note from Chani on Venus Retrograde.” If people Google it they can find it. She was writing it during the Venus retrograde—or about the Venus retrograde in Capricorn a couple years ago, but in that she also does a really lovely discussion of the relationship between the Venus retrograde cycle and the myth of the Inanna. I’m not gonna read any of it here. But just if people are interested, it’s a really beautiful piece of writing.

CB: Yeah.

AC: Yeah, just one final thing about that. So what’s interesting is that cazimi, or the ‘place of revelation’, the middle-bottom of the underworld part of the story of Inanna, she’s actually hung on a meat hook and that that is actually the place of revelation. She’s hung naked, right? Like you have to get rid of all of your power, layer by layer, to get to the heart of the matter. You have to be impaled on it, right? Like if there’s a problem, it’s no longer ignoring the pain or the problem but placing yourself on it, and the story gives us that. Like that is the place of revelation, which I think is very interesting.

CB: Yeah, for sure. So this brings us to our second lunation of the month which is in the middle of the month, which is a New Moon in the sign of Leo at 23°. The New Moon is squaring Uranus at 23 Taurus, so there’s some unpredictability, some ‘excited-ness’, but also some instability to that conjunction. Venus has completed the conjunction with the Sun and is now on the other side where eventually she’s heading towards emerging from under the beams of the Sun and sort of emerging from the underworld as we head into the second phase of this cycle around the time of the New Moon. Yeah, so this is our second lunation of the month. How do each of you feel about it?

AC: I feel like by experience this is going to be inseparable from all the stuff that we talked about that came just days before.

CB: Yeah, for sure.

MJM: Yeah, that’s how I feel.

CB: Good, good. All right, so one thing I needed to mention really quickly then—since we’re around this part of the month—our auspicious election for August, which is set on August 7, 2023, and it’s set for 6:12 AM, just after sunrise. So the chart has Leo rising and the Sun in a day chart just above the degree of the Ascendant, Venus retrograde in Leo in the 1st house. Jupiter is up there in the 10th whole sign house in the sign of Taurus, and the Moon is also in early Taurus in the sign of her exaltation. So this is a chart that’s very much focused on the 1st house of self, appearance, body, but also the 10th house of career, social standing, reputation, and one’s work or action or business. So it’s kind of a good career-focused chart. It’s a little bit of a good chart aesthetically with Venus in the 1st house and the Sun relatively strong in the 1st house in its domicile. Yeah, that’s our auspicious electional chart for this month. Leisa Schaim and I found four or five other charts that we present on our Auspicious Elections Podcast which is available to patrons, and people can check that out through our page on Patreon.

AC: Yeah, it’s a sturdy chart with a Sun and Moon both being very strong and angular.

CB: Yeah, those fixed signs are really nice around this time of the year to take advantage of. Things can be very slow to get started under them, but if you are successful they do tend to last for a very long time. So ‘sturdiness’ is a good keyword. Thanks Austin.

AC: Yeah. Dorotheus is very firm that all other things being equal, elections are better with a fixed sign rising. Because if you’re bothering to elect it, you don’t want it to change. You’re like, “No, I would like things to go this way. That’s why I bothered doing an election,” right?

CB: Right.

MJM: I also love in that chart that the Moon is ruling the 12th house. And so, there’s something about the Moon being exalted in the 10th house really close to the Midheaven which has like a lot of opportunity for recognition and good favor and visibility. But part of what the Moon is responsible for in that chart is things that are maybe hidden or behind the scenes or things that are out of view, and maybe bringing some of those things up into visibility, into public space. So it’s like if there’s things you’ve been working on behind the scenes or in private this could be an opportunity—especially professionally because the Moon is in the 10th house—to bring some of those projects or those things that you’ve been working on behind the scenes into the public space a little bit more.

CB: For sure. That reminds me Galileo’s chart has strong connections between I think the 12th and the 10th, and he did some of his most important works under house arrest, essentially in prison. Okay, so as we get into the third week of the month a few different things all start happening at once. Mercury starts slowing down and eventually stations retrograde on the 23rd-ish, around that timeframe, right around the same time we have Mars in Virgo opposing Neptune. So we have a Mars-Neptune opposition that’s happening the same time that Mercury is stationing retrograde, which is a little bit dicey. And the Sun moves into Virgo, 0° of Virgo, on the 23rd where it immediately starts applying to an opposition with Saturn. So Mercury retrograde in and of itself can sometimes be a period where communications are not going as well. And having that happen at the same time when you have a Mars-Neptune opposition—which can sometimes lead to taking actions without having a clear idea of the outcome and sometimes making a mistake due to a misunderstanding or clouded judgment—seems like it’s a sort of constellation there at the same time that’s indicating similar things.

MJM: Yeah. Yeah, that Mars-Neptune opposition, I’m thinking about things like the frustration of disorientation or not being able to tell what’s true or what’s real, or the ways we lash out at our own projections, or the ways we act out violent fantasies. Or even paranoia comes to mind. The sense of the agitating stories that we tell ourselves that may or may not be real. And I looked back to see what was going on at the Mars-Neptune conjunction—because of course this opposition is part of that larger cycle between those two planets—and that was back on May 18, 2022. And one of the major headlines that week was the shootings in the predominantly black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, and specifically on May 18, the day of the conjunction, President Biden visited Buffalo, and he described the mass shootings as an act of domestic terrorism and white supremacy. And specifically this quote, he said, “White supremacy is a poison. It’s a poison running through, it really is.

And so, seeing those events lining up with the Mars-Neptune conjunction back in May 2022, I’m considering or interested in how this opposition might involve some sort of, hopefully, confrontation of the poison of white supremacy and/or other forms of hate and violence that are predicated on fantasies that are projected onto other people, especially fantasies of superiority and the subjugation of entire groups of people based on warped imaginations of who people are and their value and their worth. That would be my hope. And I wouldn’t say that that’s an inherent signification of Mars opposing Neptune, but because of what was going on at the conjunction, we can look for the ways in which the opposition is then some sort of development or culmination of that story and some of the events that were happening back then.

And there are ways in which those events do play into some Mars-Neptune themes in terms of the kinds of violence that get acted out on other people because of someone’s warped imaginations or their fantasies or their projections onto other people. That to be a certain color means you are inherently less valuable, or that you are a threat, that you have to be dominated, or that you have to be even killed—like those sorts of warped fantasies that we saw at the conjunction. My hope is that the opposition leads to a confrontation of those sorts of things and not a perpetuation of them, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

CB: Yeah. I think of the Mercury and Mars conjunction—with Mercury also opposite Neptune, and it happening in Virgo—being critical and starting an argument with somebody, especially focusing on the details or focusing on smaller things, but it ending up being that you made a mistake and you didn’t have a clear understanding of the situation. And I think in terms of interpersonal dynamics that would be a danger around that time of the Mercury retrograde station, but it could be like a small infraction or exchange that because of the retrograde turns into a bigger one than you thought it might be at first. So just try to exercise caution at that time of not making a mistake due to a lack of knowledge or unclear knowledge.

AC: Yeah. Looking at Mercury’s time here in Virgo and just the situation, I get the impression of Mercury desperately seeking clarity, right? Because if we look at what’s going on in Virgo, what’s going on Virgo is that it’s being opposed by Saturn and Neptune and Pisces all the time now, right? We have very, very powerful, not very clear—what is the word—anti-clarifying, muddling, confusing forces impacting the Virgo space, right? And I’m sure anybody who has planets in early Virgo, or late Virgo, has noticed the opposition from Saturn and Neptune and Pisces. And so, we have the ruler of Virgo sweeping back and forth and trying to undo projections, undo fantasies, like what’s actually going on here, right? Remember we talked about that with the era of Saturn in Pisces and like, what’s happening exactly? Like which story is this, or which braid of stories is this? And Mercury’s nature is very frustrated by that, of trying to clean that up. If we’re cleaning, it’s probably like wine spilled all over the carpet, or it’s a liquid mess which is much harder than if I dropped a glass.

CB: Right. Mercury in Virgo, and also Mars in Virgo, is very good at editing. Because with editing you have to cut something out, you have to remove something, and you need to focus on the details. But it’s like what happens if you’re trying to edit something but you lose your glasses and your vision is blurred or something like that, but you still have to take a knife to something in order to remove something. You might remove something valuable or make a mistake in the process. So, unfortunately, all of this is kind of like the end of the month and a lot of these problems are happening at the end of the month with the Mercury retrograde. And while Venus is heading towards the resolution of the retrograde and stationing direct, it doesn’t do that until the early part of September. So all of this stuff happening, this sort of tension towards the end of August, is somehow the setup for the eventual resolution of some of these themes in September, but we don’t quite get there this month.

AC: Yeah, I would say that Venus is not done with the retrograde cycle, but Venus is starting to feel pretty good, right? Venus has already made an exact square to Jupiter, and it’s just hanging out in aspect to Jupiter, and has become visible again, will escape the beams shortly. Like the Venus stuff is still there but it’s getting into a pretty good place whereas Mercury’s in a very complicated place, increasingly complicated. It has been in a complicated place and now has to turn around, right? But that Venus through the jarring Uranus square is through the unpleasant but potentially revelatory cazimi, just hanging out in aspect with Venus-ruled Jupiter for quite some time, from the end of August onward.

CB: Yeah, that’s a good point.

AC: Not resolved, but feeling pretty okay about where things are going.

MJM: Yeah.

CB: I didn’t notice until you just mentioned that that Venus is getting to that 15° point from the Sun right at the same time. So Venus is actually emerging from the underworld and from the beams of the Sun right around this time.

MJM: Yeah.

CB: All right, nice. So that brings us to the final week and final days of the month where Mars eventually departs from Virgo and moves into the sign of Libra by the 27th and 28th. So that’s a major shift since we’ve been having this transit of Mars through Virgo over the course of the past month or so now, which is the final end point to the Mars-Saturn opposition as well and some detention that culminated at the exact opposition later in July. But now that opposition fully ends at this point, which shifts us somewhat dramatically or starts shifting us dramatically into a new phase.

MJM: It does. And it’s also a major change in dignity for Mars to go into the sign of its detriment or exile, to be far away from its home sign of Aries. And that tends to be a more frustrating place for Mars. It tends to be more agitating in terms of what Mars is going to act out on or the kinds of acting out that Mars is to describe while it is moving through Libra. And I guess the ways that I tend to think about that lately, the last couple of years, because of some writing I’ve been doing—actually I just put a talk about this up on my website—I’m thinking about Mars in the context of feminism and feminist astrology. Just been thinking about the ways in which we so often describe Mars in terms of things like ‘severing’ and ‘separating’, which are absolutely part of Mars’ function and how Mars behaves symbolically and astrologically, and what does it mean to hold those significations of severing and separating and the kind of independent drive and pursuit to go your own way and cut your own path.

How do we hold that within a larger view that we’re never actually separate from one another, that we’re never actually separate from the world around us? Whether we’re talking about that in terms of an ecological perspective that literally your body only exists because of its implication and entanglement with the landscape around you, or a social perspective, the ways in which we irrevocably depend on one another for our lives and livability, what then does it mean for Mars to sever and separate if we understand that fundamentally we are inseparably relational with one another? And so, then Mars moving into Libra, I think Mars is often descriptive of the ways in which we struggle with that inherent interdependence, that inherent relationship or interconnectedness with one another. Mars—there can be some frustration with that because of course it’s not always easy to be with other people or to depend on other people or to feel the vulnerability of interdependence. And Libra is a place where there’s a lot of capacity in general for things like cooperation or collaboration or consensus or bringing together lots of different perspectives and finding how do we hold all of these different experiences and needs together in terms of our solidarity with one another, or to build coalitions with one another—and Mars is moving into Libra.

So it’s like those things—collaboration, cooperation, solidarity, coalition—those are not easy things. It’s actually hard work to struggle together, to find how do we be together. Yes, we are undeniably dependent on one another, interdependent with one another, interconnected. And what’s frustrating about that? What’s difficult about that? What’s agitating or disruptive about that? And so, I imagine as Mars is moving through Libra those are gonna be some of the kinds of stories—depending on where Libra is in people’s individual charts or personal charts—that we might see more of. That struggle to accept the ways that we depend and are dependent upon by others, the ways in which we are already connected to one another, the ways in which we can never fully sever or separate our connections to one another, and the ways that we struggle to be well with one another. I guess what I’m pointing to is the difficulties of coexistence. And Mars moving through Libra is likely to bring up some of those stories for us.

CB: Yeah. And it’s amazing that that’s starting right before Venus stations direct.

MJM: Right.

CB: And the issue that Mars often runs into when it’s in its own sign, like Aries or Scorpio, Mars is given a knife to accomplish its ‘severing and separating’ directive or function. But then you put it in Libra, how do you accomplish that function with a handful of flowers or a bouquet of flowers? And sometimes how Mars acts in that position—I think of that phrase ‘kill ‘em with kindness’ and what that looks like in the context of Mars going into that environment while Venus is stationing direct in Leo square Jupiter.

AC: Yeah. Kill ‘em with kindness or a ‘charm’ offensive.

CB: That’s good.

AC: I find with Mars in Libra, like you were saying, Michael, especially for Mars, Libra is a place that prioritizes social cohesion. And social cohesion often requires forms of etiquette or codified ways of relating, and Mars is terrible at that. And then simultaneously it doesn’t want to be there, it wants to be doing something else. And so, like you were saying, I see Mars’ irritability because when Mars is not given a job to do—and this is true in the world, but also within everyone—when your Mars doesn’t have problems to solve, something to struggle with, something to wrestle with, something to achieve, that energy—like I would add to cutting that Mars loves burning, right? If you think of it your heart rate goes up and you start burning more fuel inside your body.

The martial state is a fiery excitatory one. And when that fire doesn’t have anything good to do, when there’s nothing to accomplish with the fire—there’s no reason, there’s no task to stoke the fire—you get these sort of resentful, moody, frustrated embers of fire rather than fire that’s both accomplishing and then fed by that accomplishment, so you get that. And then I also see in a lot of especially more traditionally Mars in Scorpio/Mars in the 1st house-type people that the level of motivation just kind of drops off. There can be struggling with laziness because part of this is Mars is in Venus’ domain. And Mars says, “What is there to do here?” And it’s like, “Well, we’re gonna do watercolor during the afternoon. There’s this great charity event we’re going to go to in the evening.” And so, with Mars there’s frustration, but also lapsing into like, “I don’t know. I don’t really want to do any of this stuff.”

CB: That’s a really good point. So all this has become super relevant when we get weirdly our third lunation of the month, which doesn’t usually happen, but it happens right on the last days of the month. On August 30, we get a Full Moon in Pisces at 7° of Pisces conjunct Saturn, or at least it’s separating from the conjunction with Saturn at that point. And at the same time Uranus has just stationed retrograde at 23° of Taurus. So this lunation is partially charged by an intensification of that Uranus transit, which has now gotten as far into the third decan of Taurus as I think it’s ever gotten up to this point. So that’s a little somber of a Full Moon in Pisces conjunct Saturn, and I guess it’s our first Full Moon in Pisces conjunct Saturn, since Saturn ingressed into Pisces way back in March.

MJM: Yeah, I mean, I agree. I appreciate that the Moon is separating from Saturn. Like, yeah, it’s still within 4°, but it’s


moving away at that point. It has reception from Jupiter, which is nice. I mean, it’s sign-based reception not degree-based, but there’s some support there. And I like that it’s off-axis from Mars because Mars has moved into Libra at that point. The only thing that really jumped out at me whenever I was looking at this lunation is that the Moon will be pretty closely-conjunct a fixed star in the constellation of Cygnus, the fixed star Deneb Adige, which is the ‘tail of the swan’ in the constellation of Cygnus, which has a lot of associations with artistic practices, artistic talents because of the ways that swans are associated with Apollo mythologically, but also because of the way that swans sing, the swan song, especially when they’re approaching death.

So there’s like this long association between swans and artistic creativity and things like that, but also some spiritual associations. Manilius wrote that the swan conceals a god and a god’s voice within itself, which most likely is a reference to Zeus transforming himself into a swan in order to impregnate Leta, but also this idea of the swan concealing or holding a god or divinity or the ‘voice of god’ within itself. So I was just thinking about this Full Moon as maybe like a good time to engage in artistic practices, artistic pursuits, maybe with some discipline to it because of the Saturnian influence there. But also, practices that give us a sense of the ways that we ourselves embody the divine or whatever it is that we hold sacred—this could be a Full Moon for honoring or practicing along those lines or in those directions.

AC: Yeah, that early Pisces area is quite artistic. I think even more it’s fuel for what can become art if craft is applied. There’s a huge imaginative heaviness and depth there with Saturn and the Moon in the 1st decan of Pisces, right? There’s a strange undersea world under, I don’t know, however many atmospheres, like weird and pressurized and inspiring. And Saturn’s there, so also frightening. One of the things I got immediately from Saturn’s ingress into Pisces was the emotional heaviness of these huge things, right? A fitting metaphor which came up is the wreck of the Titanic, right? Like this whole complex inside of which all these stories happened and intersected. And I don’t know—that emotional Leviathan that’s somewhere down there feels like what the Moon is shining on here strangely.

CB: Yeah, I like that. And then also, to your point, Michael, it’s like we have that and that is the backdrop as we’re heading towards the end of the summer, and we’re coming out of the heaviness of the Venus retrograde and the Mercury retrograde starting, and the heaviness of Saturn and dwelling with that. But then the Moon is applying to that sextile with Jupiter next with reception, and there’s like a hope or a sense of some sort of positive light at the end of the tunnel.

MJM: Yeah.

AC: With Jupiter in Taurus, it’s not the most amazing place for Jupiter. But I feel like with Jupiter in Taurus it’s like how can I live with this, right? It doesn’t solve all the problems. But like, okay, so this is true, there are emotional leviathans buried beneath the sea and there’s all this stuff. But like, okay, so how can I live with the Venus-ruled fixed sign of Jupiter? It’s like, okay, how do I carry this, or what is the way forward? And Jupiter in Taurus I think is really useful for making things workable or livable.

MJM: And I like the language you used, Austin, in terms of what becomes possible through the application of craft. And that that feels like a nice echo of the Sun is actually in Virgo in this Full Moon, in this opposition. And so, Jupiter in terms of how can I live with this, maybe one of the strategies that this Full Moon offers in addition to things like creative or artistic practices, or some sort of spiritual practice in terms of recognizing and honoring the divine or the sacred within yourself—it’s like what’s the craft of this? What are the actual material practices, Virgo? What are the things that I’m doing in order to make this something that I can live with?

CB: Love that.

AC: And what wisdom do I obtain by bearing witness?

MJM: Yeah, beautiful.

CB: Brilliant. All right, well, just looking at the chart is one of the notes that we end on. There isn’t full resolution here, but there will be before too long in September. But it seems like we’re getting especially the second act of the Venus retrograde play this month and that’s part of our main focus in addition to the Mercury retrograde and everything else that we’ve talked about, but I think that kind of brings us full circle in a sense. And while we’re leaving it on a bit of a cliffhanger in terms of our series of monthlies this month, that is the nature of of astrology and of our monthly forecast episodes where we sort of check in periodically, sometimes right in the middle of things, taking a slice out of this period of time, and then we’ll return again next month to see how it concludes.

AC: Yeah, stay tuned for Mercury and Venus’ direct stations.

CB: Yeah, part three. All right, thank you. This was amazing. Thank you both. Thanks, Michael, for joining us today. What do you have coming up in the future? Or where can people find out more information about you?

MJM: Yeah, thank you so much for inviting me back. It was just a delight to be in conversation with you both. People can find out more about me or connect with me through my website which is michaeljmorris.co. At the time that we’re recording this I’m fully booked for consults through the end of August, and I have one consult remaining in September So if people want to work with me, they can visit the bookings page on my website or get on the mailing list to find out when I am starting to book again for later in the year or just upcoming offerings, things like that. My mailing list is the best place to get that information.

In the meantime, I have recordings of past presentations and workshops that I’ve given that are all on my website. I just updated a few more just this week that I gave within the last year, including the talk that I mentioned earlier that I gave in June about astrology and kinship. And then for people who are in the Ohio area, I am premiering a new performance, a new dancer work, an oracular performance dance work August 10-11-12 called “Bibliomancy: An Oracular Performance,” which is an interactive divinatory dance performance that I’m doing in just like two weeks from the time we’re recording this. So if people are in the area, it’s free, it’s open to the public And all the information about the performance is on my website.

CB: Awesome. That sounds great. I’ll put a link in the description to your website below this episode on YouTube or on the podcast website. Austin, what have you got going on?

AC: Oh, this and that. I’m going to put up some of the presentations and workshops that I’ve given over the last year or two onto the website for sale in August. I haven’t decided when. And then there’s nothing new coming out from Sphere + Sundry this month. The Thema Mundi pre-order is still open for I think another week. It’s about to close, but there should be some in August where it’s available. And, yeah, I’m mostly going to be locked into a box with a window that only peacocks can see into and just grinding on The Faces 2.0.

CB: That sounds like the myth of Prometheus who’s like chained and a bird comes and eats his liver each day. There’s like a weird version of that going on here.

MJM: I was thinking about the myth of Argus and the peacock, and Hera tossing all of the eyes of Argus onto the peacock. I hope your peacock’s name is Argus, but it doesn’t have to be.

AC: That’s good, that’s funny. I actually—we’ll talk about afterward—I went deep on Argus and peacocks recently.

MJM: Amazing.

CB: Nice. All right, as for myself, like I said, Nick Dagan Best and I are gonna record a Casual Astrology Podcast, nerding out over the astrology of Oppenheimer and Barbie in even more obnoxious depth than I went into in this episode. So if you’d like to sign up for that or check it out, you can find us on patreon.com. Otherwise, I’m gonna keep working on the podcast, and I have a big episode coming out next month on the difference between the Sun, Moon, and rising sign. I’m doing that actually with Chani Nicholas, which I’m pretty excited about and should be an amazing episode. And, yeah, so if people want early access to that, you can also find that on Patreon in addition, if you would like to support the work I’m doing here in the podcast.

So I think that’s it for this episode. Thank you both again and for joining me. Thanks to our live audience who was here commenting and talking with us and sometimes giving great feedback and different notes that helped guide the discussion. So thanks for joining us and supporting the podcast. And that’s it for this episode, so thanks everyone for watching. Good luck next month, and we’ll see you again next time.

[end credits]

A special thanks to all the patrons that helped to support the production of this episode of the podcast through our page on Patreon.com. In particular, a shoutout to the patrons on our Producers tier, including Thomas Miller, Catherine Conroy, Kristi Moe, Ariana Amour, Mandi Rae, Angelic Nambo, Issa Sabah, Jake Otero, Mimi Stargazer, and Jeanne Marie Kaplan. If you appreciate the work I’m doing here on the podcast and you’d like to find a way to support it then please consider becoming a patron through our page on Patreon.com. In exchange, you can get access to bonus content that’s only available to patrons of the podcast, such as early access to new episodes, the ability to attend the live recording of the monthly forecast episodes, our monthly Auspicious Elections Podcast, or another exclusive podcast series called The Casual Astrology Podcast, or you can even get your name listed in the credits at the end of each episode. For more information visit Patreon.com/AstrologyPodcast.

If you’re looking to get an astrological consultation, we have a list of recommended astrologers at TheAstrologyPodcast.com/Consultations. The astrologers on the list are friends of the podcast that have been featured in different episodes over the years and they have different specialties such as natal astrology, electional astrology, synastry, rectification, or horary astrology. You can get a 10% discount when you book a consultation with one of the astrologers on our list by using the promo code ‘ASTROLOGYPODCAST’.

The astrology software that we use and recommend here on the podcast is called Solar Fire for Windows, which is available for the PC at Alabe.com. Use the promo code ‘AP15’ to get a 15% discount. For Mac users, we recommend a software program called Astro Gold for Mac OS, which is from the creators of Solar Fire for PC, and it includes both modern and traditional techniques. You can find out more information at Astrogold.io, and you can use the promo code ‘ASTROPODCAST15’ to get a 15% discount.

If you’d like to learn more more about my approach to astrology then I’d recommend checking out my book titled, Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune, where I go over the history, philosophy, and techniques of ancient astrology, taking people from beginner up through intermediate and advanced techniques for reading birth charts. You can get a print copy of the book through Amazon or other online retailers, or there’s an e-book version available through Google Books.

If you’re really looking to expand your studies of astrology then I would recommend my Hellenistic astrology course, which is an online course on ancient astrology where I take people through basic concepts up through intermediate and advanced techniques for reading birth charts. There’s over 100 hours of video lectures, as well as guided readings of ancient texts. And by the time you finish the course you will have a strong foundation on how to read birth charts, as well as make predictions. You can find out more information at courses.The AstrologySchool.com.

And finally, thanks to our sponsors, including The Mountain Astrologer Magazine, which is a quarterly astrology magazine which you can read in print or online at MountainAstrologer.com.