As the moon completes its cycle this week, we humans are at a symbolic turning point. The New Moon, exact on Friday morning at 10:53 EDT, coincides with some larger astrological changes occurring this week. For many people, these planetary shifts will help bring ideas into tangible form– cooling down the hot air of enthusiasm with some practical good sense.

The Sun is continuing along its transit of fire sign Leo, and Venus is backing up in retrograde motion to meet it. I’ve mentioned before that Venus retrograde in Leo is all about reconsidering our values and what we feel is good for us in life. People and things that take up our time without giving us something in return need to be evaluated. With the Sun in a powerful position in the sign that it rules, we have extra courage on our side to make choices that put us at the center. Self-worth should be a high priority these days, and we would all do well to focus on feeling joy and a sense of belonging. As the Moon begins to approach the Sun and Venus over the next 48 hours, this inclination to express love and fun should be embraced– it sounds like a perfect time for getting together with people and letting the good times roll.

Mars also moved into Leo this past weekend, emerging from the water sign Cancer where it wasn’t very expressive. Mars feels much more at home in Leo– our energy levels are likely to get a big boost from the warrior planet moving into a spontaneous and extroverted fire sign. This helps us feel less self-protective and more engaged in activities with others. Mars will be in Leo for the next 7 weeks, urging us to venture out and try new things.

Perhaps the larger and more subtle shift this week has been Jupiter leaving Leo after 13 months, and finally shifting into Virgo on Tuesday morning. Jupiter in Leo expanded the need for recognition and acknowledgement. In a good way, it propelled a lot of people to search for what they felt they deserved or were lacking in life. As it changes sign into discriminating and analytical Virgo, the volume of our ego will be turned down a little, allowing us to hear better. We can hopefully be more practical and patient, two of the strengths of this earthy sign. Jupiter in Virgo is going to push the question of quality into the forefront. Virgo seeks satisfaction from the simple, and tends to organize, clean, and heal in an effort to make things function efficiently. So during the next year or so of our lives, we have the opportunity to attend to the theme of worthwhile causes, allowing us to prune the superficial and costly bullshit that distracts us from what substantially matters.

The Virgo energy will increase in the next weeks, as the Sun moves into the sign later this month, joining Mercury and Jupiter. For now, enjoy the Leo New Moon and the fresh lunar cycle that begins Friday. The Saturn retrograde is over, as well as the pressure of the Jupiter/Saturn square. Hopefully some lessons have been learned, and we are on a better (and more rational) path. Taking time to appreciate where we are and who we’re with will help ground us in the present and open us to the possibilities of the future.

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