This week’s astrological forecast is written for the plant-wise Anima Mundi Apothecary newsletter!

August is slowly bringing in a breath of fresh air to the birthing process of 2019. The principle of mind and communication, Mercury, is moving away from their very potent and problematic retrograde. And the hope, expansion and joy of Jupiter returning to direct motion (Aug. 11) brings a needed boost of positive, supportive energy. This past Mercury retrograde (Jun. 19 – Aug. 14) provided a frustrating, demanding or perhaps simply potent viewpoint on our particular role in our planet’s transitional times. For many there has been a heightened experience of being trapped within the larger forces of history, and being forced to cope with the transformation of social institutions and conventions. All of the shortcomings or failures may have felt oppressively close. Some of us bear witness, some of us bear direct consequences and some of us want to look away from overwhelming pressures bearing down on us.

It could be very useful to reflect on how we have responded to any events that boiled over in our lives or communities during this past Mercury retrograde. Where did we shine, succeed, stretch ourselves and reach towards greater health and wholeness? Where did we fall short? The failures may be more important than the successes, for instructing us about our path forward. And maybe we can’t do everything all alone. A prophecy attributed to elders of the Hopi nation said of this time of purification: “See who is in [the river] with you and celebrate.” The river which is flowing fast now, is the intensification (Pluto) of our collective and individual karma (Saturn). And it is asking us to recognize cause and effect in our lives.

The celebration of being in the river together is underscored by the Aquarius Full Moon on August 15 at 5:30am US/Pacific. This Full Moon makes the planet of love, connection and social currency—Venus—integral to the spotlight placed on our Aquarian intellectual ideals about freedom, progress and innovation. The Leo Sun-Venus is asking us how we are showing up—and whether or not we are just showing off. Leo can certainly be both—the desire to be visible as a leader for The Good, and the desire to receive a lot of ego stroking. Displays of bravery or courage that are not backed by the quest for maturity, deep relationality and real responsibility (no more and no less than what is ours to do) will not serve us well as we move closer towards the climax of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction (exact Jan. 12, 2020).

The very end of the shadow of Mercury’s retrograde brings a harsh square aspect between communicative Mercury and the planet of rebellion, Uranus (exact Aug. 16). This infuses the atmosphere with extra Trickster energy, and a rush to proclaim one’s freedom or difference or will. But simple-minded rebellion is far from helpful in our times. What vision do we wish to enact? What is the more beautiful world we feel emerging within us, despite all the indications against it in the world? Living a loving future into existence is the very, very hard work that Saturn-Pluto points us towards. Not despising others, or wishing ill upon anyone, which only compounds the suffering and often presents a self-defeating distraction. This choice is happening in our individual lives, not just on the world stage.

Jupiter’s square to visionary Neptune (Nov. 2018–Nov. 2019) means that we must be willing to see beyond our own times, that our wildest dreams can also pass through the portal of birth contraction represented by Saturn-Pluto. These are healing times, if we summon the compassion and the courage to show up for it. Even the plants are trying so hard to reach out to us! For example, several initiatives to decriminalize plant medicines (entheogens) have passed or are underway in cities around the United States. The plants are reaching out to us—do we see them? And do we see our beloveds? They are all in this river with us, too! Can we see each other? It is time to be mindful of the very good news that we are not swimming all alone.