If you had difficulty connecting last month, sexually or otherwise, you're not alone--Mercury (the hermaphroditic messenger God) was out of phase. Not only did crucial e-mails disappear into the ether, but would-be soul mates stood waiting on opposite street corners after seemingly fool-proof meeting plans. Since Mercury also presides over electronics, more than one battery gave out at a key moment during solo activities. The good news is that, as of August 5, s/he will be back on track and all forms of communication should get easier. But beware: Venus went retrograde on July 29 and will continue her backward motion through September 10, bringing confusion and alienation into relationships. Use this time to observe and reflect on your love life, but postpone decisive action until the love-goddess is back on course. That said, with the build up of Martian energy around the solar eclipse in Leo on August 11, avoiding action might prove impossible.

Why am I still writing about the August eclipse when it s almost September? For starters, this extraordinary planetary line-up has been hailed by astrologers as the blueprint of the new millennium. At the moment the Moon blotted out the sun, the other major planets formed a Grand Cross—a configuration made up of hard aspects, which signify both great challenges and opportunities for growth.They aren't called hard for nothing: this is about the most potent astrological format imaginable, symbolizing a tremendous build-up of energy just aching for the nearest available release. A planetary pressure-cooker, the effects of which will be felt through November—at least. This configuration will do more than rev up your libido. With Saturn ruling from the mid-heaven and Mars leading the challenge, anticipate conflict between conservative and rebellious impulses. The ever-present conflict between the superego and the id will now take center stage. Squaring Uranus electrifies this already volatile opposition, so expect the unexpected from yourself, your partner(s) and everyone around you. You may observe even the most stolid characters following urges you never dreamed they had in them.

  Here’s a tip: under Saturn s command, virile Mars becomes explosive, but that doesn't have to be all bad. One way out of bondage may be to explore its hidden pleasures. If that fails, try reversing roles. Either way, a power struggle is inescapable. The major players in the Grand Cross are the fixed signs--Leo, Taurus, Aquarius and Scorpio--which are responsible for accumulating, maintaining and deploying power. (If you have your Sun, Ascendant or important planets in these signs, pay special attention--your world will be rocked even harder than other people’s. Steadfast, loyal, and full of integrity, the fixed signs can become obsessed with staying on top in every sense of the word. Famous for never changing their phone numbers--just think how easy it is to keep track of your Taurus lover compared to that damned Gemini--these people love to maintain the status quo. In fact, if they aren't pushed as they're being now, they might stick for years with the first position that works (generally the missionary)! A word of caution: when assuming any new position, pay attention to your reputation--dramatic Leo craves the operatic and won’t settle for some private epiphany.  

If you discover old relationships falling away, try not to worry (as you undoubtedly are if you're a fixed sign). This is the time for all that phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes, as-one-door- closes-another opens, every-ending-is-a-new- beginning stuff. Open yourself to the cosmic energy and you'll be rewarded by huge advances in your personal evolution, which will be reflected in the quality of people you attract. Become the divine being that has always been lurking inside the stilted roles, rigid routines and weird personae you borrowed long ago from God knows where. No matter what your sign, you'll be forced to make choices; just make sure your value system reflects who you are on a soul level and supports your life purpose.

One last point: Sensual Venus gets a bit uncomfortable in fastidious Virgo, although Jupiter loosens things up. In spite of the volatile energy surrounding the eclipse, take some time to practice finesse both in and out of the bedroom. Perfect some new technique or spiff up your intimate apparel. You might also explore how it feels to totally serve your partner’s/partners’ needs. Fetishists rejoice!



Hillary Kelleher