"You have plenty of courage, I am sure," answered Oz.
"All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty."
~ L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
There's nothing like a good challenge to make you humble.
Humility and confidence are qualities not often found together in the same sentence. Each appears to be everything that the other is not. Humility is often seen as weak, while self-confidence seems like the ideal armour to protect you against that very weakness.
Yet, when they cross paths they form a powerful combination that can bring out the best in both. At best, you have the ability to move through even the most difficult situation undeterred by the ego's outrage that things "should" be different.
On the other hand, these two qualities can also polarize to each other. Humility decays into self-deprecation. And in an effort to pull oneself out of the sinkhole of unworthiness, confidence can mushroom reactively into an attitude of entitlement, hubris and refusal to take responsibility for one's inevitable human shortcomings.
This two-sided coin is part of Leo psychology. In the Leo part of ourselves, we constantly struggle to find a balance point that we can live with between feeling good about ourselves and remembering that we are an imperfect work in progress. We stagger between the awareness that we are made of star dust, and knowing that in the end we are still just dust.
Be careful not to mistake insecurity and inadequacy for humility! Humility has nothing to do with the insecure and inadequate! Just like arrogance has nothing to do with greatness!
~ C. JoyBell C.
The New Moon in Leo offers a chance to adjust that balance by being challenged to look deep inside.
Saturn is the main culprit, being in square aspect (90°) to the Sun and Moon, as well as Jupiter who just moved into Virgo.
Saturn may step in front of you, blocking your view of future possibilities and opportunities until you acknowledge and face what is here-and-now first. At its worst, this could feel like the weight of inhibition, a crisis of confidence, the sluggishness of depression, or just having to slow down your pace to navigate some complicated situation.
If your sense of self or purpose has become a bit too inflated—meaning more ego and less humility; more dream than substance; more taking for granted than taking responsibility—then Saturn may put a damper on things, which can push you to prune back to the basics somewhat.
Being a big slow planet who's about to embark on an adventure through Sagittarius, Saturn believes in travelling light. That means the less unresolved heavy baggage the better. Best to start fresh with only what you really need, so that when Saturn returns to Sagittarius (Sep.17) you will be ready to move onward to your next horizon.
Therefore, take advantage of Saturn's square to the New Moon. Use it to bring yourself back to the here-and-now. You will probably find it helps to be thorough in what you do, focused on producing the results you intend, and making sure the final groundwork is prepared that will support your next move.
The first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself... Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.
~ Nelson Mandela
Jupiter has just recently moved into Virgo (Aug.11) after strutting through Leo since July 2014. Jupiter, being the king of the gods (corresponding to Zeus in the Greek pantheon) has enjoyed being worshipped in the sign of the king of the beasts – right in his element!
The tropical zodiac sign of Leo is also where the royal star, Regulus, has reigned since sometime around the year 156 BCE. That's a lot time to get used to living in one place! Fast-forward to 2011 CE when Regulus moves into the tropical sign of Virgo (not quite the same as the constellation; see my article on Regulus in Virgo).
This extremely rare sign change of a highly esteemed star has many possible implications for the collective. It echoes what seems to be a shift from a world previously dominated by patriarchal (male-focused) energy to the matriarchal (female-focused). Many are hopeful that it signifies a shift from a conquering, domineering hero archetype to the more peaceful values of sustainability, health, cultivation and cooperative productivity.
Jupiter is exactly conjunct Regulus at the time of the New Moon in Leo, this speaks a time when the regal king must embrace his inner, down-to-earth queen. (Pun intended? In these times of liberation of same-sex relationships, perhaps!) This is, of course, a long-term lesson. Jupiter will remain in Virgo until Sep.09.2016, and Regulus adorns Virgo with its nobility for the next 2,145 years.
The majestic Leo part of us is gradually learning to find purpose and dignity in living the life of a commoner who seeks not adulation from the masses but the wholesome satisfaction of a job well done. Unpretentious, down to earth and focused on the betterment of reality rather than the appearance of something greater. In Virgo, the external applause becomes the internal acknowledgement of what you've achieved after doing your best.
This is not an easy decent from the mountaintop, though. Jupiter in Virgo is in its Detriment—in the sign opposite its rulership (in this case, Pisces). Being in Detriment means Jupiter finds it difficult to express its natural energy, and therefore has to work harder to be effective.
Jupiter's expansive nature doesn't fit comfortably into Virgo's besquillion details. And yet, like a pointillist painting, bringing together the correct details in just the right way can form a breathtaking image that is greater than the sum of its parts—and that vast perspective is precisely Jupiter's natural territory.
Jupiter is also in a struggling square aspect to Saturn. All of this echoes Saturn's effect of knocking the high-and-mighty down a peg or two to be down here on the ground with us just-plain-folks. The really important lesson here is that there is no shame in this.
I must learn to love the fool in me—the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of my human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my Fool.
~ Theodore I. Rubin
Venus went Retrograde on Jul.25, at the exact position where Jupiter is now: conjunct Regulus in the first degree of Virgo. She is currently back in Leo again for the rest of her retrograde phase (until she turns direct on Sep.06) and will return to Virgo again on Oct.08. From the modest maiden in Virgo, Venus is discovering in herself the gracious queen. So Venus too is going through a wardrobe change between nature's many textured shades of green (Virgo) and royal purple with stitching of gold (Leo).
Venus conjoins the Sun and Moon right now, giving us a chance to embrace the deeper side of Venus. This is not a shy demure maiden. Venus in Leo is like sexy Aphrodite proudly wearing her mythological girdle of beauty, enticing all to bow in honour of her splendour. However, being retrograde she may or may not grant favours as you would wish. She has her own agenda and being in Leo much of it has to do with reconnecting you with your inner beauty and lovable nature.
This may not be an easy mission, since she too is squaring Saturn. Therefore, in order to connect with your inner goddess (or the anima of your inner god), it may be necessary to get honest with yourself about what has been blocking you from doing this. You can't move an obstacle out of your path until you acknowledge it is there and then do something about it that's different from how you have been dealing with it. It starts with recognizing whatever is in your way, admitting how you feel about it and react to it, and then choosing a new kind of action.
You may have already encountered that blockage when Venus retrograde exactly squared Saturn back on Aug.05, or even on Jul.14 when she squared Saturn going direct. She'll cross paths with Saturn for the last time on Oct.10, so you have some time to bring the issue into focus before you are challenged to try out your new resolve. For now, it may help to stay grounded in the here-and-now, especially when difficult feelings come up. At worst, you could feel unlovable or disconnected from others. At best, it can be a time when you see changes that will bring you closer to your best self, which generate new actions, decisions and choices.
When I was a child my mother said to me, 'If you become a soldier, you'll be a general. If you become a monk, you'll be the pope.' Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.
~ Pablo Picasso
Mars is also in Leo, having finally left home from the Cancer nest on Aug.08. He's feeling rather footloose and fancy free at the moment. He doesn't make any major aspects again until Sep.01 (other than a few whispers from the Moon). At that time he meets up with Venus going the other direction (retrograde). She stations direct a few days after that (Sep.06) and takes another 2 months to catch up to conjoin Mars again (Nov.02).
From this, your ability to focus your actions might be a bit loosey-goosey. Your sense of adventure could speak more loudly than your commitment to responsibilities and ambitions. In addition, it might not be very easy to switch hats between the daring adventurer and the working class hero, since once your energy is in the rhythm of one it may find it's more comfortable to just coast there. Nothing wrong with that, but if it creates significant conflicts with what the world expects of you then you might want to keep in mind that you'll need a bit more conscious focus than usual to steer and direct your energy.
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part
The big thing to remember during this Leo New Moon and over the next 4 weeks of the lunar cycle is to keep finding that balance point between humility and hubris. Even if Saturn has you questioning your worth or competence, keep in mind that this is a feeling—not reality. Feelings pass and transform into new ones, so hang in there!
At the same time, this is an opportunity to get real with yourself about ways that you might improve yourself. Discover ways you can make different choices, and find out what gets in the way and holds you back from making those new choices. If you don't feel ready to make the change, that's part of the process too. Just acknowledging an obstacle that blocks your path, rather than turning around and running away from it, can be a huge step forward.
Trust the process and it can lead to a new vision of yourself as golden. Because you are.
The only reason we don't open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don't feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else's eyes.
~ Pema Chödrön
When the Sun conjuncts Venus retrograde, it initiates a new beginning in all things related to Venus. That includes self-image, beauty, love, relationships, interaction, finances, resources, pleasure and sensuality. However, this new beginning is small and largely hidden, like a seed beneath the earth that is about to sprout. You are the co-gardener of your soul now, in partnership with the Universe. Therefore, be gentle, consistent and supportive of yourself, as you would a sprouting seed. You may not be clear on what the new beginning is until well after Venus goes direct, so be patient. Now is a good time to gather intuitive thoughts and impressions of what kind of changes you would like in Venus areas. Would you like to improve your self-image so that you are more loving and accepting of yourself? Perhaps you would like to stabilise your material security and help it grow gradually? Or maybe you want to bring more pleasure and harmony to your relationships and interactions with others? Start by connecting to the loving and blessed person inside yourself first.
It is possible to dive deep below the surface now, in your perception of situations, other people and yourself. If you have been working on trying to understand the deeper motivations and dynamics of what is happening in your life, there could be a breakthrough now. The light may finally go on in the darker corners that have eluded you, and your penetrating insight. You could find a way to articulate these perceptions and speak your mind in a way that is unusually powerful or intense (so be careful you don't inadvertently blow your audience out of the water). This transit can bring an opportunity to shed and leave behind old worn out perceptions or ineffective forms of communication. Try writing down your thoughts and ideas to capture the energy of this transit. This is the only exact pass for this transit, since Pluto was out of range when Mercury came through this area two months ago.
Spontaneity and liberation burst into your relationships, finances, resources and pleasures. You might feel compelled to try something completely different that shakes up the "same-old-same-old" routines you're used to. The upside is that you have the opportunity to break free of some old habits and breathe some fresh air into your life. But the downside could come in the form of impulse spending beyond your budget, or recklessness in your interactions and relationships. Strive to break free of what holds you back from being your true self, without destroying the structure of order in your life.
You could experience extra sensitivity, compassion or sympathy toward the problems and suffering of others under this transit. One possibility is that you encounter more people than usual who are struggling with problems that are brought to your attention. Another possibility is that you might be on the receiving end of the results of their suffering – for example, if someone takes out their frustration or discouragement on you. Yet another option is that you may encounter others who are sensitive to and able to offer help for your own ongoing problems and struggles. You may be in a special position to have insight into the problems of others, or they into yours. Exchange of information, experiences, ideas and theories could be useful. You might also experience a difficult interaction with someone that raises an old issue about style of communication (for example, words might be spoken with good intentions that instead cause hurt). This is a good time to listen and observe, and you might catch a glimpse of some ironic or paradoxical truth.
It is necessary for you to come to grips with limitations, boundaries or expectations. If you have been avoiding some task or obligation, this transit might bring consequences from that avoidance or a warning of consequences to come. You might also encounter a situation that requires you to accept unwanted responsibility or restricts your freedom in some way. You might be faced with some part of your life being pruned back, either to rein in something that is out of control or to make room for new growth. This is likely to be more or less stressful depending on how comfortable you are dealing with responsibility, authority, limits and hard work. If you have a hard time with authority issues, you might find yourself in conflict with someone in authority under this transit – perhaps in part because your buttons are getting pushed. On the other hand, this could also be a time when you are challenged to take action or make a decision that involves taking on more responsibility. It is also a time when you may have to find better ways to deal with personal boundaries – accepting others' or learning to assert your own. You're bumping up against reality, so try to work constructively with it, not hurl yourself against it.
Happy Solar Return to all Virgos! While the Sun is in Virgo, we are all honorary Virgos. You are encouraged to clean out the toxins in your body and mind. Organise and tidy up your life, in whatever ways it is "a mess." And take stock of the ways you give service and make a contribution to the world around you. Take some time to pay attention to the details and precision of what you do, and appreciate how much you can do with very little. During this transit, organisation, useful procedures and practical application come together to form the key that opens the door to effectiveness, efficiency and improvement. This is a good time to adopt a service-oriented attitude, whether that involves being helpful to someone else or dedicated to your own healing and betterment. You could volunteer your time. Or, perform some "random acts of kindness." Or, just do something nice for someone. Projects and problem solving may work a bit better if you take an analytical, methodical approach to them (rather than intuitive or guessing). This is a good time to assimilate and "digest" the results of any preparation you've been doing toward a project, goal or production. Weed out what doesn't work and what doesn't support your efforts, and then reorganise and simplify whatever is left. Just don't get so carried away that you throw away something that's important to you or your goals.
It can be easier to take a logical, practical approach to problem-solving and decisions now. It's a good time to make plans and work out the logistics of how you're going to get from "here" to "there" in pursuing your ambitions. Or, you may find it's time to bring closure to finished goals, by distilling and systemizing what you've learned in the past several months. This will probably require a bit of effort on your part to make it happen, but the opportunity is there if you choose to take it. This transit can bring mental stability and the ability to apply your mental focus in a practical and grounded way. It may be easier to see things realistically and objectively. Creative energy can become productive and rewarding, if you use it methodically or logically.
Confidence, optimism, leadership, vision and well being characterise this transit. Your self-esteem and self-awareness can be wide open now. Your sense of being part of something greater than yourself may be vivid and bright. And you may have increased ability to identify and act on opportunities around you, which can bring you "lucky" prospects. On the other hand, if you have difficulty embracing a positive sense of self, or if you shy away from believing you are a treasured Child of the Universe, then this transit might stir up those difficult feelings to the surface. You could wind up trying to compensate with over-confidence, arrogance, blind faith, or gambling on what are realistically poor prospects. The trick is to tap into the spirit of who you are. Let go of blame and instead apply some honest yet compassionate assessment. Let your spirit shine brightly out to the world, but not so brightly that you blind yourself or others by your own light. Consult a trusted friend for feedback or advice if in doubt. This is a great time to expand your horizons, whether that is through travel, by learning something new, by sharing your knowledge with others, or by exploring the Meaning of Life.
Mercury glides into Libra, bringing awareness and new ideas about your style of interaction and how you communicate with others. It may be easier to speak (and listen) with gentleness, fairness and diplomacy during this time. Thoughts, ideas, communication and negotiation could reach a state of increased balance and harmony, and you may be especially sensitive to other people and your environment. You could be more motivated to balance criticism or anger with gentleness and diplomacy. On the other hand, interaction could also become a carefully crafted game in which truth, honesty and facts are replaced by manipulative strategy and "white lies" designed to avoid hurt feelings. Indecision and "fence sitting" are possible under this transit, since you are able than usual to see many different sides of a situation. It might help to bounce your ideas and thoughts off someone who can be a good sounding board and give you feedback. It may be easier now to reach a win-win solution to conflicts, which is fair to all concerned – but be careful you don't make incorrect or self-serving assumptions about what the other side wants.
Mercury is now "in the Shadow" – the area of Zodiac where it will later go retrograde in about 2½ weeks time. During its retrograde cycle, Mercury travels through the same span of the Zodiac three times (called the Shadow). The first time through, it is going in direct motion (moving forward), then retrograde (looks like it's going backwards), and then direct again. This means there is a more extensive process of development and change involved with things that Mercury influences—ideas, thoughts, frame of mind and mental focus. It also concerns the collection, exchange, analysis and organisation of information. All forms of communication are also affected. This includes not just talking, but also email and snail mail, the Internet, the media in general, books and magazines, as well as public transit (buses, trains, etc.) and neighbourhoods.
The situations developing over the next couple of weeks (leading up to when Mercury actually goes retrograde) will likely require further research, deeper consideration and adjustments to unexpected discoveries over the next couple of months. Expect changes in your plans, increasingly disrupted communication, and new information coming to light that may not fit conveniently into your plans. It's wise to leave lots of extra time to do things, to plan future projects and get to wherever you're going. Patience is a valuable quality during this time. If you must make important decisions during this time, try to build some flexibility into your plans to allow for later changes—or if possible, you may want to delay final or irrevocable decisions until well after Mercury goes direct.
If you know your way around a chart a bit, here's one book I recommend on retrogrades in general. One is Erin Sullivan's Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape which is detailed, comprehensive and very in-depth – everything you ever wanted to know about retrograde cycles and planets! Erin's book is also available in a Kindle edition.
Here are the key dates of this Mercury cycle (for North American Eastern Time):
Ideas are in focus, especially when they're shared with others. It could be a time when you observe or notice something new, giving you a new perspective that you will mull over for the coming several months. Or you might be called upon to give a talk or presentation that shares information with others. It might be an especially active time with emails, Facebook, Twitter or texting. Communication and collection of thoughts and ideas is the central theme here. Keep your eyes, mind and curiosity open – the world could be showing you something important and fascinating!
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© 2015 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied without the author's written permission. Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at GoodReads.com. Artwork: Leo ~ Solar Lion © Carol McCloud, Galactic Alchemy; used with permission. Photo of carrier pigeon by Malindine E G (Lt), War Office official photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo of Venus de Milo; See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. George Seurat: "The Seine and la Grande Jatte - Springtime 1888," Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.