By Heather Ensworth

We begin a new lunar cycle on July 31st (at 11:12 pm EDT) with the Sun and Moon in the sign of Leo in the tropical zodiac. This comes at the sacred time of Lammas, which was celebrated throughout much of Old Europe as the time of honoring the heat and light of the Sun as well as the celebration of the beginning of the harvesting of the grain that had been planted in the spring.  At this sacred time, take some time yourself to give thanks for the nurturance of the Earth that feeds us and sustains us and the energy of the Sun that enlivens us and enlightens us on all levels — physically, emotionally and spiritually.  
At the time of the new Moon, while the Sun and Moon are in the zodiac sign of Leo (which is based now on our seasonal cycle), when we look at where they are literally in the sky right now, the New Moon and Sun are in the stars of Cancer.  I believe that the visual placement of the new Moon and Sun speak to us of the spiritual energies that are coming through to us, and then, the sign of the zodiac gives us guidance as to how to manifest these energies in our lives. 
Cancer is the constellation that relates to our sensitivities, our feelings and needs and how we navigate this watery realm of emotions.  These stars are also thought to be the point of incarnation as our souls come to Earth and take on human form. So, Cancer speaks to how we bring this spiritual self into embodiment.  And the sign of Leo where new Moon is in the tropical zodiac is guiding us to live here from the heart.  Take time at this new Moon to be quiet and turn inward. We are so bombarded by the cacophony of the world around us that we often ignore or do not hear that still small voice of our spirit within.  Mercury is now stationary, take time to quiet your mind and listen to your heart, your intuition and the voice of your soul self within you.  How are you living your life?  Are you in alignment with your deepest self? Or are you living your life caught up in the shifting moods of your emotions and the hunger of your needs or by finding that inner stillness and making choices that are in alignment with your soul self?  What seeds have you planted in the past through your thoughts, feelings and intentions and what are you harvesting in your life as a result?
Cancer is one of our smallest and dimmest constellations in the sky.  It ismost easily identified by the Beehive cluster of over 1000 stars at its center.  This cluster of stars can be seen as representing our birthplace in the stars before we incarnate here on Earth.  But it can also symbolize the ways that we may get caught in the collective “beehive” consciousness (or unconsciousness) here on Earth rather than living out the unique light and life that we are each meant to manifest here.  Take time at this new Moon to also reflect on how much you may be influenced by the currents and torrents of social media and the polarizations in the collective consciousness.  How are you embodying your own truth?  How are you living out the unique light of cosmic consciousness and creativity that only you can bring to this Earth? 
Venus is conjunct the new Moon and Sun in these stars of Cancer.  Venus is invisible from view now as she moves behind the Sun and prepares to emerge as an evening star in October.  As she merges with the light of the Sun and now the new Moon, it is an important time to reflect on your relationships, your values, and how you manage your resources.  Are these in alignment with your soul self?  Are you relating to others with respect and from the heart or are you caught up in your own needs or reactivity?  How are you in relationship with the Earth?  Do you respect the other sentient beings around you or do you see others and the Earth as resources to be exploited for your own ends? 
Mercury and Mars are on each side of the new Moon, Sun and Venus. We are being guided to reflect on how our values, our ways of being in relationship and our alignment (or lack of alignment) with our true self, our soul self, is manifesting in our words and in our actions. Uranus is squaring the new Moon, Venus and the Sun calling us to wake up, to see our lives clearly and to let go of patterns, thoughts or actions that are out of balance or destructive to ourselves or to others.  This new Moon and Sun are also part of a grand trine with Chiron and the asteroid Ceres.  These energies are calling us to heal and to move into patterns that are more nurturing for ourselves and are in right balance and right relationship with others and with the Earth.
As we move into the time of the full Moon on August 15th (8:31 am EDT), The full Moon is now in the sign of Aquarius in the tropical zodiac but in the stars of Capricorn in the sky.  Capricorn relates to how we manifest our lives in a tangible and practical way. It is how we are shaped by the lessons in ourlives.  Life is a process of initiation, guiding us to grow in love and wisdom. But if we are mired in our egos and caught in the control of the collective consciousness, then we are likely to shape our lives by our unconscious issues or desires or by others’ standards or expectations.  Then, how we are living our lives is no longer in tune with our our deeper natures and soul self. This lunar cycle is a wake up call to remember who you are and to be in alignment with your true self.  Then, as you work that Capricorn energy, it can manifest here in an Aquarian way (the sign of the zodiac that the Moon is in), allowing you to be true to yourself, not conform to the society around you and respect the diversity of others. 
At the time of the full Moon, the Sun is now opposite the Moon in the sky and is beside Venus and Mars next to the star Regulus, the heart of Leothe Lion.  If you have taken time at the new Moon to listen to your inner knowing and spiritual guidance and come back into alignment with your soul self, then this full Moon will help you to manifest the fruits of that in how you live your life. Regulus, the royal star at the heart of the Lion gives us courage to live from the heart and to live with integrity. Our actions will now be guided by our hearts, our intuition and our spiritual guidance. Rather than being buffeted by the waves of your own emotions or unmet needs or seeking others to make you feel better, you are able to take responsibility for your own life and actions. We are all here on Earth to learn how to allow our embodied selves to reflect our soul selves rather than shaping ourselves to fit into the world around us while abandoning our inner knowing and soul’s intentions. 
To live a life of integrity and to align with your soul self and inner knowing, takes courage. It means being willing to see life as a process of initiation and your challenges as the transformative energy of a refiner’s fire. We are not here to grab for security or to try to control our lives and others to satisfy our ego’s hunger for power or material gain.  We are spiritual beings here in physical form to be in celebration of the beauty and wonder of the soul self manifesting in a human body. We are here to allow all of our experiences to guide us, teach us, refine us and initiate us into deeper levels of consciousness, evolution and growth. Then, what we are able to celebrate at this time of Lammas are the energy of the light and enlightenment of the Sun and the fire of Spirit within us.  And the harvest that we celebrate is the grace and greatness of the cosmic consciousness manifesting through us in our creativity to become the grain that will nurture ourselves and others, the bread of life. Together, we are able to honor the communion of consciousness with embodiment. And then, our lives reflect the energy of love and community and not of polarization, conquest or strife. 
May we be the harvest that we seek. 

— Sky Watch for this Month —

Mercury– is barely visible before sunrise and is stationary at the time of the New Moon and then goes direct.
Venus – has disappeared from view and will return as an evening star in October 
Mars– has disappeared from view and will be under the beams of the Sun all month
Jupiter– is visible high in the sky after sunset and for much of the night
Saturn – rises in the eastern sky after sunset