LATE AUGUST 2015 ASTROLOGY UPDATE: Pride and Ambition, Hubris and Humility


    The Moon has entered Scorpio in its passage via combusta, and it squares Mars in Leo this evening.  This means that a contentious situation might arise, but it will likely yield to resolution with the Moon’s trine to Neptune in Pisces soon thereafter. 

    Meanwhile the Sun is in the last few days of its home in Leo, and it will conjoin Jupiter in Virgo a week from today.  Venus continues her illusion of backward movement through the Lion, where she will conjoin Mars on the last day of August. 

    Now, let’s imagine a dance between the Leo and Virgo energy searing down, amidst the endless cast of images conjured by our present sky.

    In order to understand that dance between fiery Leo and earthy Virgo, think of it this way:

    The varying seasons of Earth partake of a magnificent breath.  Spring is an inhalation, summer is the full lungs.  Fall is an exhalation, winter is the empty lungs.  In this cycle our energy moves.

    Elementally, Fire and Air are up right now!  They are the nourishing rays of our Sun, the winds which carry thoughts and seeds. Water and Earth are down. They are the soil beneath us and the matrix of water that sustains all life.

    In another view of the elemental cross, Fire and Water are in, Earth and Air are out.

    Consider that fire is the suchness of inner vision, the power of the will projected outward.  Water, the depth of feeling, one’s gravitation toward events in the external.

    Earth is the blessing of material incarnation, it brings physical pleasure in this sense-perceptible world.  Air is the utility and application of our visions, it’s the thoughts that move through the air into our minds, then out through our tongues.

    In this way, it is natural law that the cardinal fire sign of Aries instigates spring and the cardinal water sign Cancer instigates summer. 

    Fire and Water rule the seasons of inhalation and full lungs: energy drawn in towards the self.

    Cancer (the first water sign of the zodiac) and then following her Leo (the second fire sign) signal these moments that the year’s lungs are fullest.  Surely enough, in the northern hemisphere light is at its peak June 21st and then it begins to wane: the exaltation of life.  This connection with waning and exhalation gives us Cancer’s special relationship to home, roots, death, and those dark inner nooks of the soul. Meanwhile, Leo, the center of the held breath, its chest puffed out, is a pride of lions (called “pride” for a reason).

    Leo has long been considered to rule the heart and spine, and is that not where the breath is held at the Lion’s stretch of the year’s inhalation and exhalation?  It descends to the stomach with Virgo’s rulership thereof, before Libra instigates the exhalation of autumn.

    The astrologer and esotericist Austin Coppock wrote that “ambition must be distilled from hubris over and over again to achieve purity of purpose.”  With pride, whose vulgar extremity is hubris, we might envision the subjective internality of emotion and will, of water and fire.  There is personal sanctity in Cancer’s dark nooks of the soul, and in Leo’s proud strut— a cat filled up with the light it basks in, knowing the regality of its own being, a fact of its existence simply built in.  This is the part of us that is ‘the shit’ without trying.  The magic of being alive and willful.

    Yet in some strata of life, it is not enough only to radiate one’s innate self. 

    Ferocity of spirit might seem like the truest royalty, a birthright of every incarnate being, but the personal kingdom endowed to each person who lives their creative path requires effort in the world ‘out there.’  The path that is ‘walked or named’ might not be the Tao, but it takes walking and talking to prove it.

    This is where Saturn’s rulership of Capricorn and Aquarius, the polar opposite signs to Cancer and Leo, makes itself clear.  The internality of watery feeling and fiery will is formless without the bedrock of earthy embodiment and its utility in air’s genius.  The radiance of pride — the seductive yet all-too-often unconscious of the will’s implicit tyranny — is distilled into ambition.  Ambition is the expression of manifest purpose in the external world.

    The crab and lion sing sweet primordial symphonies that we are born living.  Perhaps the goat and water bearer cradle this divinity, one and the same with it.  They are both the throne and our disengagement from the chiseled steps which lead to the foot of it.  Our walk along the worn path and the moment we diverge from it.  The ruler and the rebel.

    The cardinal Air and Earth signs, Libra and Capricorn, instigate fall and winter.  They are the exhalation and empty lungs, as energy has been expelled outwards toward social and worldly concerns.  The manifestation of self in the world ‘out there’ — with Virgo stretching between Leo and Libra, between full lungs and exhalation.  Virgo is the harvest maiden who sits at the boundary of self and other.

    How best do we honor our own being while still blessing those close to us?  When do we give and when do we withhold?  How do we balance the grand gesture with prudence and discretion? Do we create an equally real type of personal sanctity when we set ablaze the limits of our comfort zones?

    The Sun will conjoin Jupiter in Virgo on August 27th, followed by the Full Moon in Pisces on the 29th.  And on the 31st as we said, Mars and Venus meet at 15° Leo.  While the conjunction of Jupiter in Virgo suggests a possibility of expansion toward prudent courses of action, the Mars-Venus conjunction in Leo decan II — “A Crown of Laurels” as Coppock called it — may very well bring the last exaltation of this summer’s most incendiary flares.  These might take the form of romantic fervor, or the manifestation of a creative vision in a suitable vessel.

    I will close with some of Coppock’s words on “A Crown of Laurels”:

    “Authentic success awakes in everyone who views it the same potential — for everyone has a spirit, and each spirit a destiny.  Yet the victory here comes through authenticity, not the perfection of character or moral virtue.  It is not the triumph of the ideal man which is celebrated here, but the flawed victory of a human being, whose perfection is not assured merely his great acts.  The Picatrix speaks of the ‘rising up of a man who is ignorant and vile’ in this face, and Agrippa associates this decan with ‘base men.’  Ibn Ezra compares the figure pictured in this face to a lion in anger.  Recognition of one’s virtues does not dispel the reality of one’s vices.

    Friedrich Nietzsche writes of this in the first of his essays in Untimely Meditations, where he explores the manner in which losses can be transmuted into victories, and triumphs degraded to the status of defeats.  By excessive self-celebration, and other immodesties, one turns past successes into future defeats.  The negative potential of those exalted in this face is pictured clearly in the Indian Yavanajātaka.  This text describes a bold woman with wild hair standing on a mountain peak, and adds that she ‘delights in taking from others.’  She has attained an elevated position, and has the strength to take what she desires.  Like the other figures which populate this decan, there is privilege here, and the potential to perpetuate a class of sin which only the strong have access to.  It is thus the temptations of selfishness and cruelty which stain the triumphal nature of this decan, for nothing tests the character so much as victory.  Though the figures pictured in the historical iterations of this decan are largely military, this face illuminates different figures when it shines through the cultural matrix of the early 21st century.  Generals take a back seat to entertainers and politicians in our world for it is they who are most often aggrandized in the way pictured in this decan.

    Present here is the strength to accomplish great works and to attain high positions.  Yet great works do not guarantee any greatness of character.  The ego is fed lavishly in this face, and there are few who can exult in its light without being blinded.”

    May the Sun and Jupiter, egoic battlers though they are, bring an equalizing effect from Virgo.  Hubris distilled into ambition, pride held in balance by humility.


    About the Author


    Alex Baker is an astro scribe. street philosopher. laureate of the underworld. You can find out way more about Alex and his work and arrange a reading at



    • Dr. Carolyn Elliott is the founder of WITCH magazine & is known for her uncanny and uncomfortable ability to trick really smart, high-achieving magical people into doing the things that they actually want to do. She’s the teacher of life-altering online courses, including INFLUENCE, FORCE OF NATURE, MONEY, and EARTH. Carolyn is the author of the cult-favorite creativity book, Awaken Your GeniusAwaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Guide to Uncovering Your Creativity and Manifesting Your Dreams... ... and the upcoming Existential Kink: A handbook of life-altering magic. She runs a multi-6-figure online business specializing in helping people achieve dramatic positive change in their lives through shadow integration practices and applied occult philosophy.

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