August 2003 A Conscious Evolution Newsletter
A New Approach to Chart
Interpretation, Part 1
Footprints in the Soil
Vedic Star-way of Heaven, Part 1
August Power Days
of India
Practicing Conscious Evolution
The Aquarian Age
August Star Watch
Conscious Community
August Interactive
Newsletter committee, writers, & contact info
Index of All Articles
Volume 2, Number 8

Opinions presented in Metamorphosis are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others associated with the newsletter.

Calendar Page
Special Days and Aspects for August 2003

August 2003
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Welcome to August! Click on a date in the calendar to see the current aspects and events for that day.

August 1, 2003

Lammas: Under its original name, the Gule of August, this festival marking the first harvest of the year was one of the four major holidays in Britain in pagan times. The others were Imbolc (February 2), Beltane (May 1) and Samhain (November 1). In the medieval era, the August festival took on Christian trappings and came to be called “Lammas” - a foreshortening of “Loaf Mass” -- because people would bring loaves of bread made from the first ripened grain to Mass to be blessed. In Ireland, the ancient pagan harvest festival on this day is Lúgnasa. It was once a day for hilltop water rituals, but is now more often celebrated with picnics and berry-picking in the hills.

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August 2, 2003

Nebuta Matsuri: The story behind this Japanese festival in Aomori Prefecture centers on an eighth-century military leader who padded his army with dummies and fooled rebel soldiers in the area into abandoning their fight because they believed they could not win. The festival features parades of “nebuta,” papier-mâché animals, monsters, birds and warriors illuminated from inside. Revelers dance in the streets, wearing hats made of flowers. The party lasts until August 7.

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August 3, 2003

Dog Days continue: The brightest star, the Dog Star Sirius, rises with the Sun and oversees the hottest part of the year in the northern hemisphere, lasting from July 3 until August 11.

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August 4, 2003

Sun at 11 degrees Leo opposed to retrograde Neptune in Aquarius
Leo’s roar is dampened considerably as the Sun opposes watery Neptune. Vital energies ebb out to low-tide and a state of psychic confusion dominates. Watch out for those who would deceive you, and avoid making practical commitments today as your perceptions may be dulled.

Seven Sisters Festival: It’s the seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar, making it Seven Sisters Day. Chinese legends tell a few different versions of the tale, but basically, the hardworking, lonely, youngest maiden of seven sisters marries a hardworking cowherd, but the two are forced to live apart, seeing each other only on the seventh day of the seventh moon. Now they are stars on opposite sides of the river of the Milky Way. On Double 7 Day, they cross a bridge made of thousands of magpies to renew their love. In Chinese communities, the unmarried of both genders give offerings and honors to the legendary lovers on this night, in hopes of finding love so lasting.

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August 5, 2003

Moon Phase
First-quarter Moon in Scorpio, 7:28 Universal Time.

Mercury at 7 degrees Virgo sextile Saturn in Cancer
A sharp mental transit that shakes away any residual feelings of confusion from yesterday’s Sun/Neptune opposition. Intellectual Mercury is very at home in precise Virgo, and the trine from Saturn indicates a fruitful day where hard work seems easy and no detail escapes your finely tuned eyes.

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August 6, 2003

Mercury at 9 degrees Virgo opposed to retrograde Mars in Pisces
Go buy a roll of duct tape today - and place a piece firmly over your mouth. It’s the only sure-fire way to avoid a potential disaster, Mercury-style. With the red planet already feeling out of his element during this retrograde period in Pisces, the last thing he needs is to be opposed by Mercury the trickster. All the combative energy of Mars is channeled through the voice-box of Mercury, and only the most well-adjusted egos will end this day without at least one verbal thrust-and-parry.

Hiroshima Peace Ceremony: It was August 6 in Japan (August 5 in the United States) when U.S. forces dropped the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima in 1945 in the last stages of World War II. The war ended August 15 with Japan’s surrender. A ceremony is held every year on August 6 at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima in honor of the victims of the first atomic weapons. Lanterns are set adrift and prayers are offered.

Feast of the Transfiguration: Religious holiday for Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican/Episcopalian churches, invoking a transcendant event in the lives of Jesus and his closest disciples. Praying on a mountaintop with Peter, James and John, Jesus’ face shone like the sun. Moses, representing the Law, and Elijah, representing the prophets, appeared and spoke to him. Then a voice from a bright cloud announced, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him.”

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August 7, 2003

Venus at 11 degrees Leo opposed to retrograde Neptune in Aquarius
A day of many possibilities as the planet of personal love opposes the planet of universal love. If you have earned a walk on the high road, then expect a day filled with unparalleled experiences in spiritual oneness with your beloved. However, realize that while this combination can often produce exceptionally romantic situations - and even re-unite elusive soul mates - it can also be highly deceptive, as Neptune offers Venus what she wants to see, rather than what is really there. Wait till Venus trines Pluto later in the week to decide for sure which road you are on.

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August 8, 2003

Tisha B’Av: Beginning at sundown August 7, Tisha B’Av (the 9th of Av in the Hebrew calendar) is a day for fasting, mourning and prayer, and a time for reflecting on the tragedies the Jewish people have been through. In particular, the day recalls the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem and the exile of the Jews that followed.

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August 9, 2003

Dog Days continue: The brightest star, the Dog Star Sirius, rises with the Sun and oversees the hottest part of the year in the northern hemisphere, lasting from July 3 until August 11.

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August 10, 2003

Sun at 17 degrees Leo trine retrograde Pluto in Sagittarius
The hot Leonine Sun is magnified today through the lens of intense Pluto. With Mars otherwise occupied this month, we need to look to the Sun for days of strength and power, and today certainly fits the bill! Pluto’s magnetism drives the strong Lion, and together they give us a day perfect for asserting our needs and finding resolution to uncertain situations. Just know when to hit the brakes, as there is a big difference between confidently assertive and downright ruthless!

Perseid Meteor Showers: August 10-12 is usually the peak viewing time for the annual meteor showers in the area of the constellation Perseus. The shootings stars have made a yearly appearance since the year 830.

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August 11, 2003

Perseid Meteor Showers: August 10-12 is usually the peak viewing time for the annual meteor showers in the area of the constellation Perseus. The shootings stars have made an annual appearance since the year 830.

Dog Days end: The brightest star, the Dog Star Sirius, rises with the Sun and oversees the hottest part of the year in the northern hemisphere, lasting from July 3 until today.

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August 12, 2003

Moon Phase
Full Moon in Aquarius, 4:48 Universal Time.

Venus at 17 degrees Leo trine retrograde Pluto in Sagittarius
Expressions of love are characterized today by their depth of feeling and burning intensity. Leo is quite a physical placement for Venus, and the trine from Pluto fans the flames of desire to a fever pitch. However, this isn’t blind desire - Pluto’s need to reach into the depths of a situation means that encounters today are unlikely to be meaningless or random. The physical expression of love here becomes the final part to completing the whole. Besides promoting intensity in love, this transit also can give artists the depth of vision needed to create works of beauty that are a true reflection of their soul.

Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi): In India, sisters tie a golden thread around the wrists of their brothers and pray for their long, healthy and prosperous lives. Brothers reaffirm their intentions about always protecting and caring for their sisters. Please see the article August Power Days of India in this issue for more about this festive month.

Yue Laan - Hungry Ghost Festival: The seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar is Ghost Month, which began July 29. The gates between the worlds are thought to be open, and wandering spirits must be entertained, avoided or otherwise placated all month, but especially today under the Full Moon. Families customarily burn paper representations of things their relatives who have gone on might need to be comfortable in the afterworld, including play money.

Perseid Meteor Showers: August 10-12 is usually the peak viewing time for the annual meteor showers in the area of the constellation Perseus. The shootings stars have made an annual appearance since the year 830.

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August 13, 2003

Retrograde Mars at 8 degrees Pisces trine Saturn in Cancer
In a month characterized by a Mars that feels alternately repressed or totally out of control, today’s trine from Saturn offers much-needed stability and a chance to productively harness Mars’ more productive energies. People particularly affected by the Mars retrograde can expect a respite from the difficult energy today.

Mercury at 17 degrees Virgo square retrograde Pluto in Sagittarius
Like any day that features a hard aspect from Pluto, today does have pitfalls to watch for. Intellectual Mercury is not dampened by Pluto, but rather energized to the brink of creating obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. If that tendency can be curbed, then today can actually become a productive day for a bit of mental spring-cleaning, using the energy to focus on your inner world and the psychological forces that drive your behaviors.

Obon - Festival of Souls: This is a Japanese Buddhist holiday, during which the spirits of the dead are believed to make joyful visits home. Family-based rituals, including cleaning and decorating ancestral graves, take place on the 13th through 15th of July or August, depending on the region of Japan, although August is the more common month. Japanese communities in California and Chicago also celebrate the occasion. Traditionally, bonfires are set outside homes to welcome the spirits, meals are prepared for them and people speak to them as though they were present. Communities join together in the evenings for a Dance of Rejoicing, or Bon-Odori, to please the visiting souls. On the final night, bonfires are set again, to light the spirits’ way back whence they came.

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August 14, 2003

Pakistan Independence Day: Part of the British colony of India since the 18th century, Pakistan gained independence on this day in 1947.

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August 15, 2003

India Independence Day: India won its long nonviolent struggle for freedom from Britain on this day in 1947, following passage of the India Independence Act by the British Parliament.

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Known as the Assumption to Catholics and as the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God in Eastern Orthodox churches, this is a religious holiday honoring the belief that the body of Mary the mother of Jesus was resurrected just after her death and assumed into heaven to rejoin her soul.

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August 16, 2003

St. Roch’s Day: Italy and Spain hold summer festivals in honor of St. Roque, Rock or Roch, a Frenchman who made a pilgrimage to Rome in the late 1300s. The plague struck while he was there, and he spent his time doing miraculous healings. When he fell ill himself, his faithful dog kept him supplied with food until he recovered. He is a patron saint of the sick.

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August 17, 2003

San Martín Day: This national holiday in Argentina honors José Francisco de San Martín, a fighter for independence who led forces across the Andes mountains to defeat the Spanish in Chile and Peru in the early 1800s, freeing much of the region from colonial rule.

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August 18, 2003

Sun at 25 degrees Leo conjunct Venus
The life-giving Sun pairs up with lovely Venus today, easing much of the difficult energy thrown our way thus far in August and beginning a week marked with feel-good transits. Both planets respond well to the playful gaiety of Leo and together offer a day brimming with creativity, merriment and the chance for a little self-indulgence. Plan to get out with friends, and set a little money aside for some frivolous shopping - but don’t blow it all today, as this is just the first of three transits that will loosen even the tightest wallets.

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August 19, 2003

Aviation Day: The birthday of airplane inventor Orville Wright in 1871 was declared Aviation Day by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939.

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August 20, 2003

Moon Phase
Last-quarter Moon in Taurus, 0:48 Universal Time.

Krishna Janamashtami: The birth of Lord Krishna falls on the eighth day of the dark moon phase of the Hindu month of Shravan. Krishna is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu (the second of the Hindu Triad) and is the one who first taught the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most holy books of Hinduism. Please see the article August Power Days of India in this issue for more about this festive month.

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August 21, 2003

Venus at 28 Leo conjunct Jupiter
A continuation of the light-hearted energy first felt when the Sun and Venus were conjunct on the 18th. Venus and Jupiter have a reputation, stemming from ancient times, as “benefic” planets, and for good reason. The expansive nature of Jupiter attracts good fortune of all sorts, while sociable Venus soothes even the most troubled relationships. Besides being good for social events and relationships, this transit is also beneficial for making money and managing your finances.

Homage to Cuauhtemoc: Conchero dancers in feathered headdresses lead the celebrations in Mexico City in honor of the last Aztec emperor, whose kingdom was conquered by the Spanish.

Pateti - the Parsi New Year: Start of the year 1373 for the Parsi culture, a Zoroastrian sect in India descended from Persian refugees of the seventh and eighth centuries. Some groups of Parsis start their year earlier, with the vernal equinox.

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August 22, 2003

Venus enters Virgo
The planet of love and attraction leaves Leo today and enters the sign of her fall, Virgo. The precise and analytical nature of Virgo, so suited to intellectual pursuits, adds a critical element to Venus’s expression of love. Venus’s downfall can be her desire to idolize her partner, and Virgo’s demands for perfection add a difficult element to this mix. It’s also a difficult time for artists, as the demand for perfection adds a strong element of tension to the creative process.

Sun at 28 degrees Leo conjunct Jupiter
The grand finale in a week of lively and enjoyable transits. Exuberant, optimistic and unrestrained, today’s energy will make you want to get out into the world and roar!

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August 23, 2003

Sun enters Virgo
Say goodbye to the sometimes brash, occasionally arrogant, but always loveable Leo. Today the Sun enters Mercury-ruled Virgo and ushers in a new phase of learning through your daily activities, with a focus on service and work. Trade in those luxurious Gucci shoes for a practical pair of runners and prepare to buckle down!

Venus at 0 degrees Virgo opposed to retrograde Uranus in Pisces
Uranus’ unpredictable nature means that today is a day of limitless possibilities. Venus in Virgo is looking for the perfect partner. Will Uranus oblige her with a soul mate sent out of the blue? Or will he send one of his lightning bolts to come crashing amidst an otherwise stable relationship? And if he does, will it be a bad thing? Couples may be momentarily shocked, but the mark of a good relationship is its ability to withstand change, and together grow stronger from the challenge.

Vulcanalia: With the season of forest fires about to begin, ancient cultures in Egypt, Athens and Rome would appease Vulcan, god of destructive fire, by making ritual burnt offerings of food on Vulcanalia.

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August 24, 2003

Sun at 0 degrees Virgo opposed to retrograde Uranus in Pisces
The Sun, just getting settled in Virgo, prepares to be shocked by unexpected events as it opposes Uranus today. The surprise may be a new person or idea entering your life, or it may be something internal - a feeling of restlessness, a desire to shake up the established order of your life.

Ukraine Independence Day: Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union on this day in 1991, just after a failed coup in Moscow. In a subsequent election at year’s end, 90 percent of Ukrainians voted for independence.

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August 25, 2003

Belarus Independence Day: Belarus declared independence from the Soviet Union the day after Ukraine in 1991 and likewise secured independence by year’s end.

Uruguay Independence Day: Uruguay declared independence from Portugal in 1825.

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August 26, 2003

Venus at 5 degrees Virgo opposed to retrograde Mars in Pisces
Miss Frilly Venus, feeling rather klutzy in Virgo’s sensible shoes, and Mr. Fiery Mars, swimming backward in the Piscean tides, run into each other on the beach. Mars bumps his head and Venus turns her ankle. This is a good day for a Woody Allen movie, some old klutz-classic like Annie Hall. Ain’t love grand?

Susan B. Anthony Day: American women won the right to vote on this day in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, thanks to the efforts of the suffragist movement led by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.

Khordad Sal: Parsis, a Zoroastrian culture descended from Persians and living in India, celebrate the birth of the sixth-century prophet Zoroaster on this day. The occasion is celebrated with prayers and feasting. Some sects of Parsis observe the holiday on a different day according to a different calendar.

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August 27, 2003

Moon Phase
New Moon in Virgo, 17:26 Universal Time.

Jupiter enters Virgo
Bountiful and generous Jupiter leaves Leo today and begins his turn in Virgo. Here, Jupiter finds himself in the sign of his detriment, as his jovial and expansive nature is somewhat checked by Virgo’s occasionally critical nature. Philosophical Jupiter finds himself out of his element, faced with Virgo’s emphasis on life’s more practical concerns.

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August 28, 2003

Sun at 5 degrees Virgo opposed to retrograde Mars in Pisces
Today the Sun challenges the retrograde Mars, which is a bit like hugging a grizzly bear. Mars, one month into his retrograde through Pisces, already has a chip on his shoulder, and the strong ego energies stirred by this transit are unlikely to improve the situation at all. Avoid being drawn into conflict if at all possible today - which may well mean avoiding people all together until this influence passes.

Feast of St. Augustine: The patron saint of theologians and scholars, St. Augustine is famous for the philosophical quality of his fourth-century Christian writings. But he is just as famous for having converted after a misspent youth. As a drunken and promiscuous young man, he was said to have often prayed, “O, God, make me pure - but not yet.”

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August 29, 2003

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist: A religious holiday since the fourth century honoring the cousin of Jesus who proclaimed the coming of Jesus and was martyred by King Herod.

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August 30, 2003

Jupiter at 0 degrees Virgo opposed to retrograde Uranus in Pisces
Another disruptive Uranus transit, but this time featuring benefic Jupiter, whose energy here almost guarantees that any surprises Uranus pulls out of his hat are likely to be pleasant ones. Often this transit can signify a time to move on to new things, and it’s hardly coincidental that it occurs at the beginning of Labor Day weekend, as many students prepare to leave home for college and university. (Labor Day in the United States is September 1.)

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August 31, 2003

Venus at 10 degrees Virgo sextile Saturn in Cancer
This is an idealistic, beneficial transit, reminding you of your duties in relationships but also giving you energy to take positive steps for the good of a relationship or a group that matters to you.

Ganesh Chaturthi: The birthday of Lord Ganesh, popularly represented as the elephant-headed god of Hindus. He rules learning and is the Remover of Obstacles. Please see the article August Power Days of India in this issue for more on this festive month.

Solidarity Day: The Polish labor union Solidarnosc was formed on this day in 1980 at the Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk. The union played a major role in toppling the Polish Communist Party from power, and the changes spread to other Soviet-bloc countries in Europe.

Merdeka Day: Malaysia celebrates its independence from the British, gained in 1957.

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Astrology by Terri Smallwood
Holidays compiled by Maria Barron, Anindita Basu and Sucheta Shetty

For an astrological look at the month as a whole,
please see August Star Watch in this issue.