Stargazer – astrology for Aug 2023
Image: Tolga Ulkan| UnsplashStargazer – astrology for Aug 2023: Ritual for Imbolc | Aquarius full moon – cosmic catalyst | Venus retrograde in Leo – reflect on relationships, and more...
by Stella Woods
"Venus retrograde is the perfect moment to take a step back and re-assess your relationships. Past issues may resurface, offering a chance for healing and growth. Or there may be break-ups. Avoid making impulsive decisions and instead focus on understanding your feelings and needs.." Festival of Imbolc – first signs of spring n the seasonal and astrological calendar, the beginning of August is the time of Imbolc – a sacred pagan festival, known to Christians as Candlemas. Imbolc marks the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

Rooted in ancient Celtic traditions, Imbolc honours the goddess Brigid, a deity of fertility, healing, poetry, and fire. As winter begins to wane, the festival signifies the awakening of the earth from its slumber, preparing to welcome the rebirth of nature and coming of spring. The word 'Imbolc' means 'in the belly' (of Mother Earth).

Celebrations at Imbolc centre around the theme of light – both the returning sunlight and the symbolic inner light of inspiration and creativity. Lighting candles, bonfires, and hearth fires are common traditions during this festival, to symbolise the triumph of light over darkness and the growing power of the sun.
Ritual for ImbolcTo celebrate the first signs of spring, light a blue candle and place it in the main room of your house. Blue represents peace, wisdom, communication, truth, patience, health, and calm.

Fill a small bowl with water and add a pinch of salt for protection and purification, plus a few drops of your favourite essential oil – something calming like lavender is a good choice.

Tie together small bundles of herbs. Dip the herbs in the water and gently wipe them over the door frame, starting at the front door of your home.

Continue to do this to all doorways and windows in the house visualising the protection and peace spreading from the front door to the rest of your home.

When you have finished, leave the bowl of water out overnight to anchor the protection, and let the bundle of herbs dry before burning it with your blue candle.
Aquarius full moon – cosmic catalystThe August full moon falls on the 2nd in the electrifying and enigmatic air sign, Aquarius.

Aquarius, the zodiac's forward-thinking intellectual, invites us to embrace our unique individuality while fostering a sense of interconnectedness with the global community. Under the heightened energy of the full moon, unconventional ideas and novel perspectives find a harmonious balance, sparking creative solutions to long-standing problems.

This full moon encourages us all to break free from societal norms and unleash our inner maverick, tapping into the collective consciousness to work towards a brighter, more egalitarian future. Those with personal planets in Aquarius should feel really fired up!

The alignment of Mercury and Mars in Virgo opposite serious Saturn offers the chance to ground ideas and visions in reality. But this will require hard work!
Venus retrograde in Leo (23rd July – 4th Sept 2023)
Venus retrograde is an astrological phenomenon that occurs when the planet Venus appears to move backward in the sky from our perspective on planet earth.

Venus is the planet of love, relationships, beauty, harmony, creativity, and abundance. When she is retrograde her energies are felt more intensely and we re-assess what and who we value.

On 23rd July, Venus began her six-week retrograde cycle and will travel backwards through dramatic fire sign Leo, disappearing from view as she passes in front of the sun. She will then reappear, reborn as the morning star and complete her retrograde journey on the 4th September. Those with personal planets between 12-28º Leo and those with birthdays in the first three weeks of August will be most affected.
Here are some tips for navigating the Venus retrograde period:Reflect on relationships Venus retrograde is the perfect moment to take a step back and re-assess your relationships. Past issues may resurface, offering a chance for healing and growth. Or there may be break-ups. Avoid making impulsive decisions and instead focus on understanding your feelings and needs. “Out of character” behaviour – either your own or someone else’s – will reveal true motives.Self-love and self-care Venus retrograde is an ideal time to practice self-love and self-care. Engage in activities that promote emotional and physical well-being and boost your confidence and sense of self-worth.Communicate thoughtfully Miscommunications and misunderstandings are more prevalent during this period. Be mindful of your words and listen actively to others. Avoid making major relationship decisions until the retrograde period is over.
Check your finances As Venus is the planet of wealth, luxury, and prosperity, Venus retrograde is a good time for a financial health check. Avoid living beyond your means and tackle any financial concerns.Reassess beauty and style Venus rules beauty, so this is an excellent time to rethink your personal style and aesthetics. Experiment with new looks or revamp your living space to create a more harmonious environment. But avoid drastic makeovers, as you may regret your decision when Venus changes direction.Embrace creativity Use this period to explore your creative side – art, music, writing, or other forms of personal expression – Venus retrograde can be a time of heightened inspiration.Old love Venus retrograde may bring back memories of past love. Try to release any lingering attachments and leave the past behind. On the other hand, you could find lovers and friends from the past suddenly re-appearing in your life.
Venus has an eight-year cycle meaning every Venus retrograde period mirrors a similar period eight years ago (25th July – 6th September 2015). Themes such as self-worth, financial resources, and relationship patterns may re-appear, and what was incomplete or left unresolved eight years ago, may surface again.

If in doubt, keep checking in with your heart, and asking yourself ‘what do I truly value?’
Image: Jared Subia | UnsplashLeo new moon – embracing your royal essenceNew moons are all about new beginnings and on 16th August we have a new moon in the vibrant and spirited fire sign Leo. As the cosmic dance begins anew, a surge of confidence and self-expression is on offer, inviting us to embrace inner lion courage and take centre stage.

Some say Leo energy is self-centred, boastful, arrogant, and lacking in humility. This may be true, but positive Leo energy is warm, entertaining, generous, brave, passionate, proud, and confident. Leo conquers new challenges with unwavering enthusiasm, inspiring the rest of us to step up and follow suit. And that’s something to celebrate.

The Leo new moon is conjunct Venus, goddess of love and beauty. Uranus in Taurus adds spice and unpredictability to the mix. Love is in the air; fun and passion are in the air and we can expect a few surprises!

Even if you normally feel anything but confident, enthusiastic, and powerful, know that this Leo new moon will help you embrace your own uniqueness and share your creative vision with the world. Harness that celestial force to manifest your dreams, embrace your royal essence, and reign over your destiny!
Mercury in Virgo – peak mental performance Quicksilver Mercury recently embarked on a lengthy trip through analytical earth sign Virgo. This fast-moving planet normally spends 3-4 weeks in each zodiac sign, but because Mercury will turn retrograde towards the end of August and retrace his steps, the messenger planet will be travelling through Virgo for over two months, from 29th July to 5th October.

Mercury is the planet of communication, intellect, technology, travel, and contracts. And he’s at his best in Virgo, delivering peak performance. Thought processes are sharper, and mental focus shifts towards practicality, efficiency, and competence. Problems are easier to solve as the finer points and intricacies of situations become clear. Communication is more methodical and efficient, meaning August and September are excellent months for planning, strategising, and completing tasks requiring attention to detail.

However, Mercury in Virgo can also make us overly critical of self and others. Constructive analysis and debate are wonderful, but harsh judgement and nitpicking are best avoided.

As Virgo has a strong interest in health, wellbeing, and self-improvement, you may find yourself on a health kick, streamlining your routine or wanting to expand your skills and knowledge.
Mercury retrograde in Virgo (24th Aug – 16th Sept)The infamous Mercury retrograde is an astrological event that occurs when the planet appears to be moving in reverse motion, as observed from earth.

On 24th August, in the middle of his transit through Virgo, Mercury will come to a halt and travel backwards through the zodiac for three weeks. As Mercury is the planet of communication, commerce, and travel, when Mercury is retrograde, these areas of life can be adversely affected, leading to all sorts of problems.
Common themes of Mercury retrograde:Communication challenges During this time (24th Aug – 16th Sept) miscommunications, misunderstandings, and difficulties in expressing thoughts clearly are generally more prevalent. Watch what you say and how you say it, as messages can easily be misinterpreted. The same goes for travelling from point A to point B. Allow plenty of time and be prepared for delays. And don’t be surprised if letters, emails, and parcels go missing.Analytical introspection A tendency to overanalyse situations and delve deep into self-reflection. Mercury retrograde is an excellent time for introspection and gaining new insights into personal matters.Attention to health During Mercury retrograde in Virgo, pay special attention to your physical, emotional and mental health. This includes health check-ups, eating sensibly, getting plenty of sleep, and dealing with any chronic medical issues.Revisiting details and projects Mercury retrograde in Virgo can be an ideal time for reviewing and revisiting projects, plans, and ideas. Correct mistakes, edit documents, tie up loose ends, and refine existing strategies.Technological glitches Mercury's association with technology can mean that during Mercury retrograde there are more technical issues, computer problems, and communication breakdowns in the digital realm.

The overall advice with Mercury retrograde is to be patient… and don’t jump to conclusions if things start going wrong.
Is the moon waxing or waning?
Finally, if you want to learn more about astrology (and astronomy) my advice is to start tracking the monthly cycle of the sun and moon; watching where they rise and set and how the moon changes shape.

Everyone can see when the moon is full, but here’s a little trick to help you tell the difference between the waxing moon (moon energy getting bigger and more powerful) and the waning moon (moon energy becoming smaller and less powerful).

Think of the word “COD” (reversed to “DOC” if you are in the northern hemisphere).

The “C” shaped moon appears during the waxing cycle as we move from new moon to full moon. The “O” represents the full moon, and the “D” moon appears during the waning cycle as we move from full moon to new moon.

In Australia, and other southern hemisphere countries, if you can see the crescent moon (C) near sunset (west) it means it is waxing or growing bigger and if you can see the crescent moon (D) near sunrise (east), the moon is waning or growing smaller. Head outside around sunset between 19th and 23rd August and you should be able to see the waxing crescent moon on the western horizon.
About the author:
Stella Woods is an astrology teacher, writer, and consultant. Contact Stella at or or

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