August 12 – 18th 2018
Sunday August 12th is the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, featuring a cool, clear Virgo Moon, inviting us to sift through our emotional responses and discern their root. Retrograde Mars enters the Cardinal Earth sign of Capricorn (backwards!) Sunday evening, where it will sit like a bird on a nest until September 10th. This brings the energy back to where it was mid-May of this year – another chance to recalibrate, re-choose and redo things we started back in May. Monday evening August 13th the Virgo Moon trines Mars in Capricorn, giving emotional strength and practical support to efforts to manifest new and more grounded understandings of ourselves and each other. The Moon enters romantic, partner-oriented Libra on Tuesday, making a conjunction to Venus and affixing those rose-colored glasses firmly on your face lasting all the way through Wednesday. It’s all hearts and flowers, sunshine and lollypops until Thursday’s Scorpio Moon demands you move past the superficial and into deeper waters. Scorpio Moon opposite Uranus in Taurus makes for abrupt and unexpected, surprising and even shocking emotional revelations. Friday morning’s Moon/Jupiter conjunction expands willingness to take emotional risks and go out on a limb for the sake of love. Saturday night’s First Quarter Moon in Sagittarius follows Shabbat Parshat Shoftim right on cue, as the Zodiac’s crusader for truth and justice is the natural accompaniment to the Torah portion which admonishes us: “Justice, justice, shalt thou pursue.” Mercury, which has been Retrograde in Leo since July 25th, stations Direct on Saturday evening, beginning the turn-around process which continues the rest of the month.
More About Chodesh Elul
The Hebrew month of Elul marks the beginning of the end of the Jewish Year. During Elul we blow the shofar every day, announcing to all within hearing distance that Rosh Hashanah is only a month away. Elul is associated with the constellation of Virgo and the Tribe of Gad. The Hebrew gad could be translated as “a troop,” which is fitting for this Mercury-ruled month during which we strengthen ourselves spiritually, like soldiers preparing for battle, to prepare for the upcoming Days of Awe.
It is said during Elul that “the King is in the Field,” that the presence of God is very near to us, on the same plane that we exist upon, as opposed high and lifted upon a throne as during the High Holidays. This closeness is meant to inspire teshuva (turning to the proper path, aka “repentance”) out of love, not fear; Elul can be read as an acronym for “ani l’dodi v’dodi li” (I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine,” a phrase from Song of Songs.
Elul is the month associated with the mazal (constellation) of Virgo, the Mutable Earth (Transformative Manifestation) sign, whose function is that of sifting, analyzing and choosing that which is useful while discarding that which, while perhaps pretty or pleasant, does not serve the highest purpose.
This year, Rosh Chodesh Elul, a solar eclipse and the Torah portion Re’eh all occured on the same day (Saturday, August 11). The light of the Sun is blocked during a solar eclipse, making it harder to see (re’eh). The primitive psychological experience of an eclipse is heightened anxiety as the light is diminished, followed by relief at the light’s return. During the brief but dramatic episode of darkness, we face our own shadowy fears. When we can see again, we see things differently. May we see each other and ourselves in a new light, and may the light of Elul illuminate our path as we make our way towards Rosh Hashanah!