New Moon August 9, 2010 August begins with a New Moon in its ruling sign of Cancer. A Moon in Cancer is often described as sensitive, perceptive, emotionally responsible, feminine, and supportive. In many earth traditions, the New Moon was recognized as a time that promotes growth. It is a time to plant seeds and set goals that will come to fruition under the full moon. As the New Moon falls in its own sign, or mulatrikona, it is a particularly powerful one for new growth.
This New Moon occurs in the mystical 9th Nakshtra Ashlesha which consists of six stars in the constellation of the Hydra, the mythical seven-headed sea monster. In Vedic astrology it is fitting that Ashlesha translates as "the entwiner." Another name for this lunar mansion is the "clinging star" which reveals its tendency to embrace and entangle the object of its attention.
Ashlesha is symbolized by a coiled snake. Kundalini means "coiled" in Sanskrit. In yogic traditions serpent imagery is used to describe the sleeping energy coiled at the base of the spine that becomes activated either with spiritual practice or naturally with time. As this energy rises through the chakras it awakens the each one, until finally it reaches the crown chakra bringing enlightenment and pure bliss.
As the deity assigned to Ashlesha is Ahi, the serpent of wisdom, this asterism is associated with Kundalini energy and enlightenment. Ashlesha is an intense and sharp nakshatra, and like a snake it has the power to heal or inflict poison with its venom, visasleshana shakti. Under its influence, this New Moon may generate knowledge that may be used to heal or to inflict suffering. It may require deep and penetrating insight to use this new found wisdom wisely. Ashlesha is ruled by Mercury which turns retrograde later in the week, so make sure your information is correct.
Mercury Retrograde August 20, 2010 - September 12, 2010
Astrologers love to analyze and discuss retrograde cycles. A planet is described as 'retrograde' when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. Although every planet in our solar system appears to station and turn retrograde in cyclic periods, they are never actually retrograde or stationary. The planets appear to shift direction due to an optical illusion. This illusion occurs as a result of a planet's motion in relation to earth.
The outer planets move slowly in relationship to the Earth's orbit. They appear retrograde when they are in the sign(s) opposite the Sun. The gas giants often spend up to 6 months in retrograde motion effecting slower astrological changes than the inner planets.
The inner planets move more quickly than the Earth and always appear within 30 degrees of the Sun. This means they always occupy the same sign as the sun, or the signs before and after. During a retrograde cycle the inner planets, Mercury and Venus, seem to disappear behind the sun and return as transformed figures, such as Venus Morning Star shifting to Venus Evening Star. It was viewed by ancient sky watchers as a shamanic process for a planet to disappear from the sky, fall into the Sun, and return after some sort of solar alchemical process.
In both Western and Eastern astrological traditions Mercury rules thinking and perception, as well as communication, commerce, education and transportation. While it is traditionally believed that difficulties occur during retrograde, it is also a time for reflection and to understand the meaning of any obstacles that occur. Western Astrologers often describe Mercury's three-week retrograde period as a challenging time for its activities. In Vedic astrology a retrograde planet is interpreted at being more powerful, especially on the days that it stations, so Mercury retrograde can also be viewed as a time of sharpened insight. How we experience a retrograde period is different depending on whether our natal charts have retrograde planets, or where the retrograde planet transits our natal charts. By knowing when the planets start to go retrograde, it is possible to be prepared to utilize the shifting energy effectively.
Next week Mercury begins its second retrograde pattern of the year in the sign of the Sun, Leo. In 2010 all Mercury retrograde cycles fall in fire signs. The fiery quality of Leo imbues Mercury with a brightness, good recall, high ideals, and creative thought. When Mercury stations in this sign, the heat gets turned up on Mercurial matters. The Market may burst into new activity, or burn up in a dramatic flair. Leo is said to rule over kings and leaders, and Mercury retrograde is a challenging time to get any kind of agreement settled. It is a great time to review, but not sign contracts as all the information may not be available. And this time Mercury stations opposite a Moon-Neptune conjunction that may cloud logical thinking with dreamy emotional thoughts. Neptune is also the modern indicator for oil, and Mercury's retrograde in the opposite sign may bring up new information about the BP oil spill that was hidden from the public eye.
Perhaps the most fruitful use of Mercury retrograde is to make time for reflection. Slow down and review the past few months' mercurial activity. For example, it is an excellent time to complete unfinished projects, or correct things that were not done right the first time. If you are involved in the business world, it is wise to back up files and make copies as Mercury retrograde can interrupt the smooth flow of information. A retrograding Mercury also influences thinking, and allows us to focus inward. Dream work and meditation may be more profound, and bring up things we have forgotten, or unfinished business on a psycho-spiritual level. Retrograde planets may also function to fulfill a karmic debt or promise, or to clear up things from the past. One must take a step backward in order to go forward later. It is a great time to clear away karmic clutter.